By Vicki Brown
Word&Way Associate Editor
I miss Grandma. She was the wisest woman I've ever known.
Just a short, sort of dumpy, gray-haired woman, Grandma wouldn't have won the beauty queen title at the Floyd County Fair. She didn't attend college or business school and didn't often travel far from home.
Grandma loved pulling pranks and always laughed at pranks pulled on her. She accepted aging and found adventure in each year God granted. On her 80th birthday, she quipped, "When you're 80, you can say anything you want and do anything you want, and people think it's cute!"
Grandma loved the Lord and people. When young, most of us grandchildren jockeyed for a chance to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's house so we could go to Vacation Bible School. Or those of us who lived nearby conned moms and dads into taking us to Grandma's church. She almost always led one of the younger groups.
For years, she taught the "primary class" in Sunday School, and she volunteered in the local Headstart program.
She taught many of us to sew, crochet, can vegetables and make jelly. She had a big cabinet filled with craft supplies. When we weren't outside playing, we piled in the middle of the linoleum floor and spent hours making things Grandma would always "ooh" and "aah" over.
Mostly, though, Grandma was the family's rock. Each of her six children, all the grandchildren and, later, myriads of great-grandchildren knew that no problem was too big and no mistake was too horrible to take to Grandma.
She rarely offered advice or told us what to do — she simply listened and hugged and let us cry on her shoulder. When a marriage went sour, not only did the blood relative seek out Grandma, the in-law often did, too. She ministered to wayward grandchildren and their distraught parents. She dealt with high school dropouts, unwed mothers, accidents, illness and premature death.
And she relished the victories — marriages, new lives, graduations, awards. Well-read and a lifelong student of the Bible, she was the sounding board, the go-to person who could help us determine and examine our options.
I miss her presence and the feisty twinkle in her eyes that always let me know when she was up to something. But mostly I miss her at life's crossroads — times when I must choose an option that I know will set my life in a new direction.
When I think about her, I ponder the legacy I will leave. I hope it will be: "I miss Vicki. She was the wisest woman I've ever known."