Today's tribute goes to Jean Munson, my maternal grandmother. My grandma is an amazing lady. Sadly, I've never lived very near to her, but she has always found a way to shorten the distance between us. I can barely imagine how close to her I would feel if she had lived only twenty minutes away, since I already feel close to her at a distance of thousands of miles.
One perk of having teachers for parents is getting summers off to travel, and travel we did. We visited our far-flung relatives, usually for a few weeks at a time. Going to see Grandma and Grandpa in New Jersey was always a highlight of my year. Why? Because every year she had some new and exciting thing for us to do at her house. One year it was that she had redecorated the grandkids guest room so that one whole wall was painted with a garden/farm theme. Another year they built us a treehouse. Another time (after learning from my mom that my brother Chris was going through a big archery phase, thanks to watching Disney's Robin Hood incessantly), we arrived to find a hay bale with a bullseye target and real archery equipment! Another summer there was a go-kart to careen around the Christmas tree farm they lived on. One summer she taught me to drive a small tractor (I was 8, and there was nothing cooler than going back to school in the fall and telling everyone I had learned to drive). Several times Grandma took me on excursions to the outlet mall for a day of shopping-till-you-drop. There was always something to look forward to on the long, long drive to New Jersey each summer.
But it wasn't the material stuff that made seeing Grandma and Grandpa so wonderful. The toys and activities were nothing in comparison to the love and relational time they lavished on us. Going to be with Grandma was a guarantee to feel like the world's most special person for a few weeks. She always made time for us. She and my grandpa were some extremely busy retirees. They ran a Christmas tree farm (still do, in fact) which is a lot of work year round in upkeep. She also had gardens to tend, volunteer work to do at her church, and the usual household chores.
|In full Christmas wreath production|
|Celebrating my mom's birthday|
|Hmm, hardly any family resemblance...|
|Grandma and Grandpa visiting us in Oregon in 2010|
|The Wild Things Quilt|
I could go on and on. I haven't even mentioned my grandma's great genealogical work in tracking down our ancestors and keeping track of their stories, nor have I told nearly enough about her other accomplishments. But I will close by saying this: