I got in a fight in Bible College. I ran the length of the floor and punched a guy in the eye during a floor hockey game. I was embarrassed and told my grandma about the incident. She looked at me and said, “Did you win?” That summed up my grandmother.
When the union boys came to take my grandfather for “a walk,” it was my grandmother who made them think twice about coming into the yard. Well, her and her shotgun! When I asked grandma if she would have shot them, she just looked at me and said, “Oh, yeah.”
When she passed away I didn’t cry. It was a relief. My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, and for all practical purposes, she had been gone for years. Her body was here, but Helen Brewer had been gone for quite a while.
My grandmother and I always had an incredible connection. Whenever I was down or going through a tough time, she seemed to know and drop me a line or give me a call.
Not that it was always perfect between us. I don’t think Grandma ever forgave me for telling Naomi Smith that Grandma said “crappydoodle” when I was five years old. She loved to play Sorry, and would squeal with glee when she knocked you off the board. And you had to watch her when playing Scrabble, because she would make up words sometimes! She also never let me live down not being able to fix her iron. The iron had a computer chip of some kind in it, and it had burned up. She would tell me whenever she got a chance that I had been outsmarted by an iron, since it had a brain and I didn’t.
I used to introduce her to my girlfriends as “my best girl.” When I married Lanette, I told Grandma she had to move down to number two. Grandma just smiled and said with a twinkle in her eye, “We know the truth!” Lanette is still convinced Grandma was right!
It was my grandmother who taught me to pray without ceasing as she stood washing dishes and praying at the same time. It was my grandmother who taught me that just “good enough” wasn’t, when I could do better.
For years I watched my grandma toil in relative obscurity as my grandpa’s right hand. Being a pastor’s wife is a pretty thankless job, just ask any lady who has ever held it. Pastor’s wives hear every criticism of the man they love, and still have to smile and be nice to the people who do it. Pastor’s wives see the toll their husband’s job takes on them and their families, yet they still encourage their husbands to follow God’s will.
Grandma always made sure that Grandpa kept his appointments, and she could let him know just how good his sermon was or wasn’t. She was probably one of the best Sunday School teachers I ever heard, and loved to teach God’s Word. Grandpa may have gotten the accolades, but he wouldn’t have had the ministry he had without this incredible woman.
Together, my grandma and grandpa were the most influential people in my life. Grandpa was my buddy, but Grandma was my soul mate. Grandpa taught me to serve God, but Grandma taught me how to have fun doing it.
Now they are both gone. Grandpa passed away a year before Grandma, and thankfully Grandma never knew about it. I said I hadn’t cried, but that’s not really true. I still get choked up when I think of my grandma’s arrival in heaven. I can see my grandfather at those gates of pearl, waiting for Grandma with a red rose in his hand. They embrace as she crosses into heaven, and together they walk hand in hand over golden streets. The angels are singing all around them, but they only have eyes for each other. Grandpa will have already scoped out the prettiest places for them to see, and once again Bill and Helen will be those young firebrands who followed God’s call, raised a family, and did it all side by side for so many years.
Some day, I, too will cross into heaven, and my second best girl will be there to meet me. She will look me in the eyes and say, “You won!” She might even throw in a crappydoodle or two.
I love you, Grandma… Jerry