My grandmother was a Christian lady. When I was a little boy (pre-teens) I used to visit with her, along with my mum and her son (my dad).
Her husband, my grandfather, died before I was born, so I never knew him.
How easy it is, when we start to write about relatives, to lose ourselves and those listening, with the necessary jargon needed, when explaining.
[e.g. My uncle’s grandmother’s son, and my cousin’s grandchild on their daughter’s side, or my mum’s mum’s brother – crazy!
Not amazing – just a maze].
So – my grandmother was my father’s mum. That’s simple enough. If you still don’t follow please ask a practicing historian.
She was probably in her eighties at the time of my visits, and was cared for by her daughter, who later became a missionary in Japan, and remained a spinster, until she went to be with Jesus in 2008.
My paternal grandmother would sit very still in her chair. And would ask: ‘if we were never going to make a cup of tea’? She asked this every ten minutes or so.
She would sit with me by her side, looking straight ahead. She couldn’t see very well.
As though unbeknown to everyone else, she would move her arm slowly across to me, and slip a sum of money into my little hand.
The large sum of one penny.
I would sense by the way she did so, that it was top secret, and I fought the smile that would try to break forth on my face, afraid of betraying her act of kindness, and exposing this great secret.
She would sing a song from her younger days and I always remember the chorus: I did a painting based on the song, it is long gone. I forget who has it.
(As with many paintings a great curiosity comes to me at times regarding where a painting is. Lost in the world somewhere, like a long lost child.)
Here is the chorus, I searched it of course, and found it on the internet. ‘Riding on a load of hay’ (author unknown).
Oh someone stole my heart away
Riding on a load of hay
I looked up and he looked down
Handsome sunburnt Johnny Brown
She told me of her extremely naughty youthful antics. Extreme things like banging on people’s front doors and running away.
Hiding, while she and her co-conspirators, observed the reaction of the house owner, as he or she looked up and down the street, baffled as to the invisible visitor.
And that was about the sum total of her reported naughtiness. (Naughtiness? – My! – how times have changed).
I remember nothing of her passing. I was twelve years old at the time.
As she sang the song, her voice was still as sweet, as when she graced the platforms of Christian Meetings, being the invited soloist.
In Northern Ireland we designate some church buildings as Gospel Halls. And they still exist.
Her daughter went to be a missionary in Japan, as previously stated, and I often reflect on my aunt’s faithfulness in prayer for me.
Indeed I often query with The Lord, just how much a part my grandmother’s prayers, played in my mighty encounter with The Living God, seven years after her passing!
When my dad, was nearing his journey into eternity, though that is for another blog post, I remember him telling me, that his mother taught him how to pray.
How important that young lives are taught the Word of God, at an early age. It will impact them fully or partially – it all depends on how they respond to it as they journey through life.
The bible describes it this way:
Cast your bread upon the waters,
For you will find it after many days.
I’m sure everyone has the experience of failing to ask enough questions regarding their family history, and suddenly it is too late. Those able to furnish us with details are gone, we didn’t ask them.
Nevertheless we can cherish what we do know. And I can still see plainly my grandmother’s facial expression as she sat – ever so still – in her armchair.
I think I must have spent the pennies.