SLICE OF LIFE/BIOGRAPHY
The rows of luscious red strawberries seemed to go on for miles and the summer heat climbed with each tick of the clock, but she lovingly worked beneath her wide brimmed hat, picking only the ripest berries for sale. She loved the land, the soil and every plant on it. Everyone in town knew her name. “That’s Mrs. Emile Christ (pronounced like Christopher); she owns half the land in these parts and started the Bank of Arnold,” folks would say.
I didn’t understand what all that meant, but I knew that she was my Great Grandmother, and I loved her.
Grandma was in excellent shape and appeared far younger than her sixty plus years. She bragged that her new young doctor said she had the legs of a sixteen year old. She said she might have to invest in a pair of those Hot Pants like all the young girls were wearing.
“Wouldn’t Emile (her husband) be shocked!” she’d laughingly say.
Her silver hair went down to her waist, and she wore it in a braid wrapped around her head, pinned just so. Big beautiful blue eyes sparkled from behind her glasses complimented by her big smile. She was in love with life and she enjoyed it, even the hard stuff.
“There’s always something to learn,” she’d say. “Everything has its purpose.”
Grandma always wore dresses even in the fields but on Sundays or special occasions, she gussied up. Jewelry was worn. Clip-on earrings, a necklace, and a broche completed her ensemble.
When Grandma’s birthday came my mother bought Grandma her first pantsuit. It was lavender and she loved it. Grandma came floating out of her bedroom, one hand on her hip and the other turned up as if she were waving, then she spun around so we could see her new outfit from all sides. The graceful way she moved you would have sworn she was a runway model.
“I feel like such a modern woman,” she said, smiling brightly, “I hope Emile likes it.” She always wanted to please Grandpa and she loved to look nice for him. Their relationship was nearly fifty years old and they were still in love. It was a storybook romance that lasted their entire lives.
She was a great influence on my life, a fact that has grown more apparent with each passing year. Grandma was a smart businesswoman with a warm and giving heart. She had a great sense of humor, even about herself. Great Grandma was also one of the strongest women I have ever known. She was definitely a hard act to follow, but I intend to try.
Who knows, maybe when I’m in my sixties, I’ll float around in a lavender pantsuit just like Grandma.
Author’s Note: This “Slice of Life” is a biography of my great grandmother. What a woman! The photo is of my artichoke plant when it was flowering. It was quite beautiful and fit this piece nicely.