Tuesday, June 11, 2013

For My Grandma

My grandma left a legacy. Just by the way she lived her life and spent her time. That woman brightened days and sun tanned her arms like no one else. You could always find her laying outside on the grass, just loving the sunshine and loving life. You could find her out there even when it got to the point that she demanded "don't watch me get up, now." She loved Deseret, Utah. Loved its water, loved its people. Loved life there.

Deseret loved her back. Cleo Eliason belonged there, as much as the river did, and the farm. She kneaded dough on her counters while looking out her windows over swinging grandkids and drying laundry. She watched those grandkids and her flowers grow with pride.

I remember making scones with her. She was never afraid of that hot oil, so I stretched out my dough and pretended I wasn't, either. We'd make sure both sides were a perfect golden brown, she always made things just right. Especially things made of dough. She baked rolls that smelled just like home to me. She made them in the middle of the night, when my grandpa passed away. That's how she dealt with things: Work hard. Make things. Give.

She loved her cats. Never too many at once, but there was always at least one around. Figaro, Phoebe, a neighbor's kitten. I remember when my grandpa saw some scratches on her arm, from the very kitten he had rescued from a tree at grandma's request:

"Did that cat do that to you?" He asked her, stern as ever. "Oh, Lincoln. It's just a baby," she replied, which was the way she described that cat up through its entire adult life. "That cat scratched you?" he said, "I can take care of that." And away he went to his closet. I remember watching him come back down the hall with his shotgun and a slight twitch at the corner of his mouth. Grandma overlooked the latter, you didn't usually catch him trying to hold back a grin, and she went straight into defense mode. "Lincoln! Don't you touch that cat! It's just a baby!" Then with just a wink at me and a chuckle at her, he was done with his joke. He loved getting a rise out of her. And, he didn't really love that cat.

She always wanted us to be learning, working, growing, appreciating. She'd pay me a quarter to do a page of math problems when I stayed at her house over the summers. Or a quarter for writing a letter to a cousin serving a mission. Even a quarter to play her some songs on the piano, but I always let that one slide for free. She was the best audience. Her eyes would close, she'd rock on her love seat, and hum a little. She was always humming a little, actually. Humming her constant tune as she sort of shuffled around her sweet house, tidying up. Always happy.

Sleeping in was never approved of at grandma's house. But even for the late risers, she always had cocoa and toast ready and some sweet sincere sarcasm about your wake up time. She was always up before the dawn, with work to do and people to help and life to enjoy. That woman was busy. Busy with all the right things.

She left this world peacefully today, leaving behind family who completely love her to be with family she's been missing. I know her husband was there waiting for her, and two of her eleven sweet children that should never have left before her. That woman will be missed, by so many. But we all know she's watching over us now. There's nothing else she'd rather be doing.

I love you, Grandma Eliason. I'll be missing you, while I keep learning to be more like you. 
Thank you for being such a blessing to me.


  1. What a beautiful tribute to your grandma.

  2. This is so sweet. "Don't sit on my cat!" I will always have treasured memories of my Thanksgiving with you at Grandma Eliason's house.

  3. Oh my gosh... I hadn't heard yet. I am so sorry for your loss. You describe her perfectly though. Even though I wasn't her grand daughter, I remember doing all of those things with her. I loved her peanut butter rice crispies and her scones, swinging on her swing set-sometimes with her, and dressing up in her pioneer dresses.


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