A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rosaries and driving

I was talking with someone today about crazy drivers and it reminded me of my Dad's mother. No, she wasn't a crazy driver. In fact she didn't drive at all. But my Dad was another story. His driving skills were - how shall we say it - a little on the frightening side. So you can imagine our fear when he was in his 80's and could barely see above the wheel and yet continued to drive!

One of our favorite memories was at his 85th birthday party. We had a family BBQ in my brother's backyard in Chicago and there was dad in his wheelchair which he needed 90% of the time, using the oxygen which was now required 24/7. He had gotten fairly weak by that time and his hands shook as he lifted a bite of cake to his mouth. Suddenly he looked up and said, "Oh, I have to remember to get to the DMV and renew my driver's license!" There was dead silence in the crowd due to absolute awe about what he just said. My brother and I looked at each other with a Yeah-dad-we'll-get-right-on-it" look. I simply said, "Okay" and dad went back to eating his cake.

But back to my grandmother. She was such a sweet woman. One of those people who never said a bad word to or about anyone. Just raised her kids, cooked, cleaned, and did it all with a smile on her face. She came to visit us in Tucson shortly after we moved there in the late 1950's. This is the requisite photo of Tucson resident (aka my dad) playing dress up and pointing a toy cowboy gun at pretty much anyone who was willing to have a picture taken. Grandma, of course, agreed to it. Although it appears she had a bit of a death grip on her dress at the time.

Another required Tucson activity for visitors was a trip to Mt. Lemmon. This is the highest peak in the Tucson area - around 8000 ft - and a great place to go in the winter to see snow, or in the summer to escape the heat. The drive is beautiful, although there are spots where the cliffs are high and the views are, well, a bit disconcerting to flat-landers. (That's what we Western folk call people from areas without mountains). So, up we went. Being a good Italian Catholic person, Grandma always had her rosary with her. And, man, she lost no time is whipping it out of her purse at the first hill. She rubbed that rosary raw all the way up to the top of Mt. Lemmon, and all the way down. Sometimes we'd hear a little prayer murmur coming from the back seat. But mostly she was quietly praying.

She did have fun once we got to the top and had lunch amid the pine trees. But after we got down, she made it clear that she enjoyed (!!) the ride, but would never go up ther again.

I miss her.


Desert Diva said...

What wonderful memories you have... Thanks for sharing about your father and grandmother. I do wonder what's with the dress "clutching."

Anonymous said...

She looks so kind. I would be praying on the edges of the mountain roads too! I've seen some scary ones in my day out in Colorado :)

ba and the boys said...

i love hearing your stories! and isnt it great that they are out there now, forever.
the internet rocks.

It's Me said...

ahhhhhhhh.......strong family history!!! you're blessed indeed, Mrs. Sandi!!!