my maternal grandmother was Grandma Nellie. I could watch her in the kitchen for hours. she whistled or hummed or talked to the chickens roaming around outside the kitchen window. Never one to measure things, she added ingredients with aplomb. Her results became memorable and tasty epicurean delights that lasted only a short time on the dining room table.
Fried chicken selected from the chickens “roaming outside the kitchen window” pleased everyone lucky enough to be called to the table. Fresh green beans picked from the garden only minutes before swimming in bacon grease atop the gas burner made their way to the top of my list. Blackberry cobbler made from wild blackberries that grew along the fence around the nearby cornfield melted in our mouths as smoothly as the homemade ice cream that accompanied the dish.
Grandma Nellie chased down the chicken, hauled water from the well, planted and harvested the vegetables, picked the blackberries and set the table cracking jokes and laughing and shooing flies away from the milk she got from the cow. she milked the cow in the morning just before gathering eggs from the chicken coop.
she did not preach her religion. Grandpa assumed that responsibility. but she modeled an unswerving faith that provided confidence for the people who knew her. Her spirit bounced around the room with more buoyancy than one half her age.
every year hunting season would find her in the forest along side her husband. she always came home with her limit. A deer would be slaughtered and placed in a meat locker to provide food throughout the year. Grandpa was known as a sharpshooter, but Grandma Nellie brought home squirrels and rabbits and even pheasants in equal quantity.
she could crochet, sew, darn and quilt. Her farmhouse furnished with simple and inexpensive items always looked warm and inviting. Visitors slept on feather beds she fashioned from feathers she gathered and used to fill the mattress form.
Grandma Nellie visits my memory often. Her humor and skill and caring disposition influenced me greatly. I loved Grandma Nellie and admired her patience and the beauty of her soul.