Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Grandpa Peter and Grandma G...Opposites Attract!!

Today I would like to tell you about my Grandparents that is my Mom's parents. I have hesitated to write about them but here is some of what I know. They were my favorite Grandparents even though they did not ever make an effort to know me by name.  They only referred to me as 'that girl there'. I believe they knew the names of a couple of my sisters though. Grandpa Peter was born in 1904 and passed away in 1985 at the age of 81 years. Grandma G was a bit older than Grandpa. She was born in 1901 and passed away in 1998 at the age of 96 years. They were married in June of 1923.  Life was a little rocky for them in their early years of marriage with Grandpa even moving back  home to live with his family for a bit but with the help of Grandma's great patience he returned to her and they were married for about 62 years. I believe Grandpa's love for Grandma was strong and enduring right up to the very end. It seemed like a sort of jealous but sweet love in that he was proud that she belonged with him.
Grandpa Peter made a living by farming though I only ever knew them as a retired couple. They lived in a small  old two story country house with a few large trees on the property. There was an old barn on the yard as well as an old shed and an outhouse.
Grandpa Peter had a mind of his own and was not easily persuaded. He did not like plants and flowers and therefore did not allow Grandma to have any in the house, nor did she have a garden. He loved the outdoors and preferred to sit outside under the shade trees rather than spending time in the house. He didn't much like green vegetables like lettuce but with a twinkle in his eye,he referred to it as "rabbit food". He insisted that he could not use a regular size tablespoon to eat soup, so in order to please him, we always set a serving spoon by his plate for dinner. Grandpa enjoyed telling a good joke and get everyone laughing.
Grandpa Peter and Grandma G often came to visit our home. Every time they came they would bring a treat for my sisters and I. Often it would be a pan of cinnamon buns that Grandpa had purchased at a store on the drive over. Grandpa would often be driving a different car than the time before. It seemed he liked to trade in his car for another used one just to try something else.  Grandpa and Grandma would make frequent trips to Alberta to visit their children there. Grandma would bake waffles and pack them up to take along as meals for the trip. They were quite adventureous in their old age really and made the trip from Manitoba to Alberta many times.
Grandpa and Grandma never had a telephone but they would come to our place to phone to Alberta to visit with their family there. They would both take a turn talking so phoning to each of the three families out in Alberta usually took the better part of an evening.
Grandma G was sort of a quiet and patient person. You could always tell when she was about to say something - you could see it in her face but she would wait till there was a longer silent space in the conversation, she would take a deeper breath, then if still no one was talking, she would add her thoughts to the conversation. She was always very generous in her compliments when my Mom would have my sisters and I  show off our new dresses to her. She spoke German as she would say -"Oh my, that is beautiful, now the boys will notice you". 
Grandpa and Grandma really enjoyed my Mom's fried fish. There was only one problem. The fish were not filleted so all the small bones had to be picked out as you ate. But Grandpa Peter didn't care and never took any of the little bones out. He would just eat it as if there were no bones at all. This made my Mom a bit scared and she would say " Papa, Papa, the fish have bones!!" but he would pay no attention. Then Grandma would say to my Mom - "Just leave him alone, he is a grown man, that is his problem". She just was so unbelieveably calm.
Grandma G could make the best Jam cookies ever. We would try to make her recipe but the cookies we made didn't taste nearly as delicious as Grandma's. She also made the best Plumi Moos ( a sweet fruit soup) and homemade buns for family gatherings. Her specialty for family gatherings was her cake though. She would make many many cakes and top them with bananas and whipped cream. She made sure there was extra food left over of everything she made so that every family could take home a whole cake, a half gallon jar of Plumi Moos as well as some cookies. She was so very generous.

                        This is a picture of Grandpa and Grandma on their wedding anniversary!                        

Grandma G wanted things to be just and fair and when it wasn't she was prepared to make things right. One time when they came to visit, Grandma brought $300 for my Mom. Apparently she knew that my Mom's brother owed my Mom that amount of money from many years earlier. Grandma figured that my Mom's brother would never pay the debt he owed, so Grandma took it upon herself to pay her son's debt. Over time she had secretly saved up the $300, always taking a small amount out of her pension check every month. She kept it a secret from Grandpa in case he wouldn't approve of her idea.  My Mom was very surprised that her Mom did that and it certainly was not something anyone would have expected of her or wanted Grandma to do. Grandma G insisted that my Mom take the cash.
Grandpa and Grandma were people of faith. They fully supported my Dad in his calling to be a preacher of the gospel. Regularly Grandpa and Grandma would drive to extra distance required in order to hear my Dad preach in the church. I remember they came to my baptism and I was glad to have them come. I know God works in all of our lives in various ways and He is not limited in His ways to encourage, lead and teach us. Grandma believed that God had prepared her for the stillborn birth/death of one of her babies through the song of the mourning dove. The mourning dove has a very distinct and sorrowful sounding song.
As the years went on Grandpa Peter's health started to fail.  He had troubles with diabetes and then a stroke that took away his ability to speak. It was very sad. He could not accept the failing condition of his health and did not cope with his struggles very well.  He passed away early one snowy December morning and since they did not have a telephone, Grandma G had to walk through  the snow to get help. But God was faithful to Grandma G and slowly with time she gained strength to move on with her life. She was 84 years old when Grandpa passed away and she lived to be 96 years old. She wasn't really sick when God called her home, she just passed on in a calm and peaceful way, very similar to the way she had lived her life.

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