I was a little girl, rarely a day went by that I did not go next door to visit
my grandparents. One day I would help
them pick up pecans under the tallest tree in their yard, a tree that towered
over me like an enormous giant with an infinite number of sprawling arms. Sometimes, I would wheel my little red wagon
down to their house, either full of baby dolls or carrying my cat Morris or my
pet rabbit Speckles. Another day, we
would be inside, making Grandma Ethel’s famous chocolate pound cake (which I
still make in her memory to this very day) or Papa Joe’s mouthwatering homemade
ice cream. I always loved this activity because
they always let me lick the paddle when the ice cream was ready to eat!
But it wasn’t these fond childhood memories that make the top of the list. And it wasn’t the cherished moments I spent with my Grandma, listening intently as she taught me to play the autoharp. It wasn’t even the trips to town in Papa Joe’s blue and white Ford pick-up truck, where we would ride with the windows rolled down, singing at the top of our lungs, “In the Good ‘Ole Summertime.” What makes the visits to Papa and Grandma’s house special in my storehouse of memories are the many ways they showed their love for me and love for God.
One thing I distinctly remember is the way they always made sure we said grace whenever I was sharing a meal with them. We would hold hands, bow our heads in reverence to the Almighty, and then pray together. They, along with my parents, taught me at a young age the importance of being sincerely grateful for my food and asking God to bless it. While I now say a prayer in my own words, I will always remember those timeless words that my Grandma, Papa, and I would say in unison:
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.