The following is a copy of the tribute given by Cindy and Carla on behalf of all Mom’s grandchildren.
“I don’t care what anyone says, I was her favourite!”
These are words that all of Martha’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say with
conviction….and it is true. We were all her ‘favourite’, and she had a way of showing each and every one of us that we were special.
Being one of the older grandchildren, I (Cindy) remember there were tears when some of the younger ones realized she wasn’t just their grandmother, and that they would have to share her. Now that we are a little older (and a little bit better at sharing) we threw it out to the other cousins to see what came to mind when they thought of Grandma.
And share they did – We heard about
- Her warm smile
- Her laugh
- Her hugs
- Her skin, the colour of a mid-summer tan year round
- Her soft hands, ready to wipe a tear or hold a hand
- The toys – the red toy barn, and the unlimited supply of foam planes (most of which ended up on her roof)
- Games like Monopoly and Uno that would sometimes cause war at the table
- The Blue Jays Game discussions, win or lose
- Chinese food from the cafe
- The livingroom clock reminding us of bedtime, even when we really weren’t ready to go
- Her many stories
- Her dislike of gophers
- The afghans in every colour
- How she felt we were all important, and seemed to know exactly what each, and every one of us was up to
- Her singing voice
- Playing piano and the organ in church
- Her expressive way of communicating
- The 6:30 phone calls
- Her voice, that carried in church (or across the alley)
- She always wanted to go with us, and her being sooo ready when we picked her up
- She was always there to watch us – ball games, concerts – and she arrived extra early to get a good, front row seat
- The language barrier that was apparent when she was on the phone with Aunt Elvira and we weren’t supposed to know what the conversation was about.
Watching Grandma in the kitchen was like watching an artist in their studio. She didn’t learn her craft at a culinary school, but through years of baking her family’s favourite foods. Fresh egg noodles hanging to dry; Kartoffel und Klösse; kraut runza; bierock – although some people think kraut runza and bierock are the same, they were different in Grandma’s eyes. I don’t know too many people who could take the tasteless berries of a yogada plant (and I use the word ‘plant’ loosely) and make a delicious kuchen.
Her light and airy donuts rivaled anything you could buy from a fancy bakery, and there was a reason she was known as the kreble Grandma or the pierogi Grandma.
All our favourite recipes weren’t on paper for us to copy and take home. They were in her head, and we could never really get the recipes from her. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to share her recipes – she happily gave us the list of ingredients – it was just that the measurements were somewhat vague….a couple handfuls of this, a palm of that. For her, measuring cups and spoons were just a means of getting the ingredients into the bowl, and nothing more. When they weren’t around, her hands and a coffee mug worked equally as well. One time, someone challenged her, questioning whether or not that teaspoon of salt in her hand was actually a teaspoon of salt. I can envision what happened….Grandma would say “Ach”, dig through the drawer for a teaspoon and, with a little “I’ll show you” grin on her face, proceed to pour a perfect teaspoon-worth of salt from her palm into the measuring spoon.
Grandma may not have been rich, but she taught us what was really important in life:
- Good friends – not the 400 friends you might have on Facebook, but the kind that you can sit updrinking coffee and playing cards with until 3:00 in the morning (which she was known to do on occasion);
- Good food – using fresh ingredients whenever possible, and that using lots of real butter and fresh Hutterite cream gives the best taste; and
- Family – making sure to include lots of hugs and kisses, smiles and laughter – the kind of laughter that is boisterous, infectious, and comes from your toes.
We are all very lucky, and feel privileged, to have had Grandma in our lives; and are forever grateful that she was able to meet our children, and that they were blessed to have met her. All of us are so much richer for knowing her.