What Grandma Taught Me

The key to a happy marriage is, when going to a casino with your spouse, head in separate directions at the entrance, ignore each other for the entirety of the day, and then, when meeting up at a predetermined time for supper, ask no questions and give no information about winnings or losses from the day’s gambling.

Hard work is hard and worth doing. It just is. A Teacher/Farmer/Mother would know.

Sometimes, you might think you are being lazy by signing birthday cards “Gr & Gr” instead of “Grandma & Grandpa”, but what you are actually doing is creating your own nickname by which every one of your grandchildren will come to know you (my kids know them as “Great Gr & Gr”).

An aspic (pronounced ass-pick) is a tomato-based gelatin side dish and, when served at Christmas, is also an excellent test of maturity for a group of adults.

How to care for a parent even when their physical and mental health complicates and challenges your relationship. (How fortunate am I to not only have had 33 years with my Grandma, but also time in my childhood with my Great Grandma?)

History and genealogy is interesting and fun and unending (you’ll never completely finish exploring it).

A light blue flip phone can best be described as “sexy”.

In difficult situations, lead with kindness and love. I will never be able to thank her enough for the way she treated my mother after my parents’ divorce. It meant so much to me that Grandma continued to be supportive of everything my mum went through and achieved, going out of her way to see her and make sure she knew she cared for all of the last 20+ years.

If you turn away from the oven for even a second, the marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes will burn. (And if this happens at a friend’s house and lights a teeny tiny fire in their oven, you’ll never hear the end of it.)

How to sew. She taught me this at least twice. Sadly, this particular skill has not stuck in my brain, but I fully recognize that every ounce of natural artistic talent that I have in my body is a credit to each of my grandmothers, and I think of them both every time I pick up a paintbrush.

It’s always better to share what you have while you are around to see the people you love enjoy it. My grandparents are some of the most generous people I have known with their time, money, and attention.

What it means to love someone with everything you have. I still remember the look on her face at one of their milestone anniversary parties decades ago as she kneeled next to and looked up at Grandpa as, I think, Through the Years, was playing. I might be wrong about which song played that particular day, but I do know that Kenny Rogers song broke me on Friday shortly before I started writing this, partly because I know Kenny Rogers meant a lot to them and partly because every word sounds right for what I witnessed between them in my lifetime.

You are never too old. You are never too old to walk five kilometres every day, you are never too old to be an active community member, you are never too old to win The Board Game, you are never too old to learn to use a new technology, you are never too old to laugh and inspire and try. You are never too old. Period.

Grandma was too young. I love her and I miss her and I thank her for this and everything else she taught me.

Donna Louise (Hutchinson) Cowie
March 22, 1939 – May 20, 2022

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One Comment

  1. Peter
    May 23, 2022

    Simply Beautiful Grace.

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