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Three things... from my grandfather, my grandmother and my brother...


Three Things I Learned From My Grandfather...

*The benefit of buying the best I can afford.
His favorite quote..."The cheapest is the most expensive in the long run."

*The best way to grow the most fantastic garden in town.
His favorite trick for tomatoes...dig down 18" for the new baby tomato plants.
Fill the bottom 6" of the hole with wet newspaper and then backfill.
Plant the new plants right up to their leaf lines, so they grow roots right the way down.
Oh, the newspaper?
It acts like a blotter or giant sponge to provide lots of moisture for the 'matoes.

*The value of a quiet voice and a strong spine.
12 year old me: " I wish I'd never been BORN into this family!" Stomp, stomp, SLAM!
Grandfather, quietly: "If I'd known then what I know now, you wouldn't have been."

Three Things I Learned From My Grandmother...

*The value of a quiet, peaceful soul.
My grandmother could be calm through the greatest storm in the family, making tea, putting out the baking and the cream and sugar, pouring the tea and calming everyone down, without saying a word. With her innate quietness and her incredibly calm soul, she could change the tenor of the room in a few minutes...with only cookies and tea.

*How to make the best homemade bread in the world.
I have nothing to add...she simply made the best ever. Mine will never measure up!

*The value of an afternoon nap.
My grandmother would lie down right after lunch, with her bedroom door closed and the window blinds down.
She'd nap from 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. every single afternoon.
She lived to be 87 years old, and in excellent health. Can't hurt, might help!

Three Things I Learned From My Brother...

*How to laugh at my own mistakes.
Standing in the barn when I was 5 and he was 19, I was watching him cleaning the barn and shoveling the straw and manure out over the box stall wall and onto the stoneboat.
Wearing my brand new red felt tam and feeling like I owned the world, I walked just a little too close to the stoneboat, and the next forkful of straw and manure landed right on top of my brand new red felt tam, and me...juicily running down my face and over my entire body, covering me and soaking my brand new clothes and...my brand new red felt tam!

* How to have courage in the face of the most frightening circumstance.
At 4, climbing to the tippy-top of the huge windmill in the front yard by the barn, I froze, afraid to look down from that awful height.
My big brother climbed up the side ladder of the windmill, uncurled my tiny frozen fingers from the railing.
Then, he climbed down, backwards...with me squalling and shrieking in his arms.

* The value of looking on the sunny side, no matter how black the day.
Having been terminally ill for the last several years and with rapidly deteriorating health and quality of life, he still answers the phone with a cheery, "Hi, Brenda! How are you doing today?"
When asked how he's feeling, he most always says, "Oh, not too bad. Could be worse."

"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance."
George Bernard Shaw

Photo credit ~ Nancy Carter

Comments (4)

Beautiful post!

I learned about the benefits of naps from my grandfather who also lived to age 87. He was more of a cat napper, any time of the day (and even in church!).

Thank you so much, Annie,
My grandparents were the coolest people. My grandfather was a green tree hugger long before it was popular to do so. He was Captain Consumer, to the nth degree.
My grandmother was a darling, kind, warm, loving woman with the most hilarious sense of humour you could imagine. She'd be so strait-laced and then tell us some racy story and we'd be in total shock.
I miss them so much, so very much.
Ciao ciao,


Hi Brenda,

I love this post. I wanted to post/copy this or similar topic.

I really wanted to highlight my grandmother as I grew up with her, she basically raised me. She had all these sayings "grandmaisms", if you will.. but each time I tried to write it out, everything is lost in the translation.

I recall all her isms in Pilipino (the language, as opposed to Filipino, the person).

Just write from your heart...that usually tells the best story.
Maybe, a post for each 'ism! Would that work?
Ciao ciao,


Brenda, that's really beautiful. And I'm so sorry about your brother. That would be extremely difficult to bear. I'm really finding that the older I get, the more attached I'm becoming to my brothers.

Thank you so much, Sandra...
He's the person I am closest to in my family, and is my cheerleader, the one who always tells me, " I KNEW you could do it!" The hardest part is the thought of not having him in my life anymore, standing in the background and telling me, You go, girl!"
He's basically suffocating by inches with this illness...the kindest man in the world and this is what he has to bear? It's so not fair, for sure...
Ciao ciao,

I also loved this post. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents when I was little. They made a big impact on my life. Your brother is truly amazing to be so positive while enduring so much pain.

Grandparents are the saving grace for many little children...my daughter told me that the reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is because they have the same enemy in common! Sometimes that's true!
Ciao ciao,

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