I delivered the below eulogy for my Grandma Dollie at her funeral, Thursday, October 30th, 2014. She was 93 years old.
They say that smell is the sense most directly linked to memory. It should come as no surprise then, that some of my most indelible memories of Grandma Dollie are wrapped up in the scents of her kitchen in that little red farmhouse on the hill. From the delicious skillet-sized pancakes, to the pan-grilled cheeseburgers, to the cinnamon fragrance of her applesauce pieces, nothing calls to mind those carefree days of summer with Grandma better. Passing thoughts of any one of these brings me back to that special time in that special place with that special lady.
Grandma Dollie’s house was summer. There was little in my boyhood that I looked forward to more than summer vacation at Grandma’s.
As a boy, your life is governed by what you cannot do. No, you cannot stay up past your bedtime. No, you cannot watch TV. And no, you cannot fling mud at your younger brother. That is, except at Grandma Dollie’s.
There you could find, for all too brief a moment, an escape from the bondage of childhood.
Want pancakes for dinner? Grandma Dollie would make them.
Want to watch Mr. Ed on Nick-at-Nite well past your bedtime? Yup, you could do that at Grandma Dollie’s.
Want to spend the night camping out in the old green pop-up tent? Grandma Dollie was in! She would thrill her young audience with spooky ghost stories. “”He’s cooommming up the third step!”
Want that transformer you’ve been pining for? Why Grandma Dollie would take you to the store in that yellow stick shift bug of hers and buy it for you. You didn’t have to ask twice.
And should Grandpa Gooch choose to lay down the law, Grandma Dollie would deflect with an “Oh, Bob” and that was the end of it.
It seemed every wish or whim could be fulfilled in Grandma’s little red house. Where one day you could spend the entire afternoon watching cartoons and the next splash the day away with cousin Kenny at the pond. It was a place where the word “no” simply didn’t exist.
What wasn’t possible at Grandma Dollie’s? If there were limits, we were blissfully unaware. It was freedom – pure freedom. As close to Heaven on Earth as this eight year-old boy could get.
Now, if someone took exception, Grandma would be quick to remind you, it is every grandmother’s God-given right to spoil her grandchildren. I’m grateful to Grandma Dollie for loving and trusting us enough to indulge all of us in that way.
In Mark 10:15, Jesus tells us “…anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Grandma Dollie lived the wonder-filled child-like love Jesus commanded. I know this because of her smile – her magnificent, contagious grin.
I saw it when she met her great-grandson William.
And for a moment, it felt like summer again and we were back in that little red farmhouse on the hill.