Sunday, May 6, 2012

Photo-a-Day - May: Day 7: Someone Who Inspires You

Photo-a-Day - May: Day 7: Someone Who Inspires You
My grandmother, Velma Nissen, inspires me every single day.  She was born in the very small farming town of Manning, Iowa in 1904 and was the oldest of 9 children.  She left school at the age of 16 and became a seamstress.  When she married my grandfather, she tried to both have her dressmaking business and be the perfect housewife.  My grandfather, bless his lovely heart, realized it was wearing her out and said he didn't care which she chose, but she couldn't be perfect at both.  Gram decided to make being a housewife her career, and regarded it as such in the very best sense of the word.

She never bought a loaf of bread, buns, cakes, pies, rolls in her life; she made them all and they were fabulous.  She had a garden where she grew all their vegetables so they could have them fresh, in season, or frozen or canned out of season.  Grampa worked on a farm, so they always had plenty of meat, pork and poultry products.

Gram could sew, crochet, tat, and quilt.  She is the one who taught me that "idle hands and an idle mind are the Devil's playground."  Although they weren't educated, they both loved to read and followed both local and world events. She had a wonderfully dry sense of humor and loved a good joke.

They were Methodist and although they went to church, Gram felt that acts were more important than appearance.  Many Sundays found her taking care of elderly neighbors; cooking, cleaning, doing their laundry.  She knew God wouldn't miss her in church.

She was also the most open-minded, non-judgmental person I've ever met.  When I told her my then-boyfriend and I were living together, her response was that I should do what was right for me, regardless of what others thought.  She would have loved my gay friends just for being my friends.  She knew I had moved away from Christianity but felt that as long as I had a strong faith that supported me, God by any name or in form was fine.  She didn't believe it was anyone's right to tell someone else how to live. 

Gram passed on just before her 91st birthday.  Her mind was still strong, her body healthy.  She went to lunch, had seen both my parents and told them she loved them, laid down for a nap, and moved on.  It was time for her to go and for her soul to meet with Grampa, the love of her life, once again.

Gram's spirit is with me always.  In my tough, dark times, I know she is right by my side, loving me and believing in me.  She inspires me to be the best I can, to help as I am able, to keep a positive outlook, and to keep  my hands and mind busy.  I love you, Gram.

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