I've been thinking a lot about Grandma lately. It seems so weird that she is now in Heaven and I won't be able to visit her down here again! She was such an amazing person.....one of those people that you look up to and rank at the top of the list of "Godly, noble, wonderful, lovable people"....like Billy Graham, Oswald Chambers, etc. She was an inspiration to so many, and I know that she influenced even more people than she could ever have realized. I am blessed to have so many dear and wonderful memories of her.
Times when I was little and would visit her in Morden, MB. The minute you walked into the house you would be hugged sooo hard that the breath was squished right out of you and her hearing aid would make the most crazy squealing sounds!! And of course her glasses would bang against your face and you would feel more LOVED and special than anyone else in the world as she said "Mine Heidi Mine Heidi - how I've missed you!" My siblings, cousins and I would head downstairs and would play hide-and-seek for hours. Our favorite spot to hide would be behind the big sectional couch. Ah, how I loved that couch. And later we would eat an amazing meal with a side of her yummy, fluffy buns, extra sticky-sweet orange tang and to finish off an apple bun or two. As we left later we would get to pick some peppermints out of her pretty blue candy dish (I personally liked the pink ones best!) and with my hand clutching my five sweaty peppermints I would get another gigantic rib breaking, ear piercing, heart warming hug!!!! What is a Grandma Thiessen hug going to be like in Heaven? I can't imagine it being quite the same because she won't have her hearing aid anymore and she won't need her glasses. Ah, but it will still be filled with more love than a person can even describe.
Once Grandma moved to BC we didn't get to see her quite as often. But when we did see her it was for longer periods of time. I loved it when she would come to the farm for a week or two and we would get to spend every day with her. We played Skip-Bo, Uno and she would always manage to cheat a little. Although I don't think it was really cheating for her because she thought it was okay - thanks to the times she played the game called "cheat"!!! =) We loved going for walks to the garden to sample the fresh peas and beans. She always loved looking at Dad's grain fields and would pray out loud that God would bless Dad with a bumper crop! We would walk down the lane with our dog "Teddy Bear" leading the way. One time she was watching Teddy Bear and she got a goofy look on her face and started singing "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear touch the ground, Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear turn around, Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear lay a poo, Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Shame on YOU!". Bonnie and I were shocked that she would say such a thing, but we sure thought it was funny!
While Grandma was visiting she would make buns and Verenicki, and I always loved to help her. I remember when I was around 8 years old she finally let me punch the bun dough myself. And I think I was 10 when she directed me in what to do and I made the dough start to finish by myself! I wrote down each step as we went so that I could do it later by myself. It was kinda tricky though cuz she didn't have a real recipe....it was always a little of this and a pinch of that. I think that's why it always turned out so well. The important thing was to give all the glory to Jesus! And of course when you didn't have things like "Goose Fat" you had to learn to improvise! In my family our tradition is to make Verenicki for Christmas Eve dinner with the family. This year I made them with Bonnie, Monique, Heidi Szakacs, and Meka. It was probably the saddest, happiest and most memorable time baking ever! When Bonnie and I were boiling them just before supper she said "Hey, lets try some to make sure they're edible!" (which of course we always know they will be but we can't wait to taste them!) So she put two on a plate and ladled on some browned butter and cream gravy and we each took a bite - and immediately both started bawling! How can you eat perogies and not think of Grandma?!!!!
We also had fun with Grandma at her place in BC. She loved to take the grandchildren miniature golfing at Wonderland. She looked so cute with her white curly hair covered by a massive floppy hat and she was just as short as little Jody who was probably 8 at the time! She would wack the ball hard and would yell "four". The whole world would have to watch out when Grandma was driving!
When Blake and I first started dating I went out to Abbotsford and visited Grandma. Blake came by bus from Vancouver and we spent the day together. Of course we visited with Grandma at her apartment. Later that day she suggested that we all go to the Mandarin garden for some chinese food. We picked up Andrea who was a student in the city at the time, and the four of us had a great date!!! =) Blake was quite the gentleman and took his duties of taking care of 3 girls very seriously. He drove Grandma's car - she sat in the front beside him. And he came around and helped her out of the car and then opened doors for all of us. The supper was a buffet, so he held Grandma's plate and escorted her through the buffet and back to her place at the table before getting his own food. It was a fun meal and I was nervous but probably not as nervous as Blake! By the end of the evening of our very first date, Grandma was quite convinced that Blake and I would be getting married someday!!! And she was right! I'm so glad she approved!
When I stayed with Grandma I loved it when I would get to spend the early mornings with her. She would have her cup of cafflib and would thank God for her vitamins and food and then would pray the dearest, most sincere prayer. Then she would take her Daily bread devotional and would read it aloud and smile at the cute poem at the end and then would open her - oh so worn out Bible, and would read the Bible passages. Every day she would do this and every day she would pray for every single member of her family. From her children to her grandchildren and right down to the great-grandchildren! How precious to know that every day of my life I was prayed for by her.
Grandma's greatest joy in life was knowing Jesus and seeing her loved ones come to Him. She used to say that she could hardly wait until we were all in Heaven and we would all sit down at the HUGE table were we would have a big feast together with Jesus. That is going to be one special day! And of course she would mention that there wasn't going to be such a thing as calories in Heaven so we could have lots of butter on everything!
The other day when I was crying because I missed Grandma, Blake smiled at me and said "Just think, she's probably playing mexican train (dominos) with Moses right now!"
Grandma left a beautiful legacy behind. She will be missed and loved daily. But someday - soon - we shall all get to be with her in Heaven and we will spend eternity together with her, Grandpa and best of all Jesus!