Iris was my grandma. She was an amazing woman and she taught me a zillion things. She instilled in me a sense of adventure and a desire to travel.
Annual Canada fishing trip, 1974
Barrow, Alaska, 1979
Wading the Oregon shore, 1991
She taught me how to swim and how to float and how to skip rocks. How to make mud pies and catch salamanders. How to bait my own hook and guarantee a good catch by singing to the fish – “Fishy, fishy in the brook. Come and bite my little hook.” She taught me how to play rummy and played with me for hours on end.
She taught me how to properly shuck sweet corn (“Don’t be lazy; no one wants silk in their teeth”). Her strawberry jam is the reason I started making jam in the first place. And it is because of her that I know fresh picked wild black raspberries with milk and sugar is one of the very best things to eat on all of planet earth. Followed at a close second by chunks of a perfectly ripe musk melon on a hot summer day.
Grandma & Grandpa’s back yard – Berlin Lake, early 1990s
Yesterday was the anniversary of my grandma’s death. She died in 2003. I think about her a lot. And I am just so thankful and honored and grateful to have had her in my life.
I still remember our very last conversation. I went over to visit her and took Mike with me so he would be able to meet her. I had some rock hard peaches at home and casually mentioned that I couldn’t wait for summer and real peaches. She said, “Put them in a brown bag on your counter, Liz and let them ripen up.”
For my grandma it was all about the simple things and I’ll be damned if she wasn’t right – the simple things are always what matter the very most.
I love you grandma. And I miss you like hell.