Grandmother’s Gift

by

Laura Garcia CannonI just spent the afternoon with my Grandmother on her 94th birthday. What an amazing woman she is. She arrives downstairs glowing. Silver hair forming the perfect waves around her beautiful radiant face,”Oh Laurie, it’s so good to see you,” she says with a smile. Her frail arms give me a mighty hug and I’m filled with warmth and wonderful appreciation for this remarkable woman in my life.

She remains as sharp as a tack, but admits sometimes it’s hard to hear, so I get close to her face to tell her happy birthday and how wonderful she looks. She waves her hand off as if I’m crazy, but it’s true. To help her hear, I remain face to face looking deep into her beautiful gray eyes. It gives me a glimpse, if only for a brief moment, of the many full years she’s had in her life.

She gets up hurriedly as if she has something urgent to attend to. “Oh I have something for you!” she proclaims, “sit down here and I’ll go get it!” She bounds back up the stairs insisting she needs no help, so I sit back down and wait. If Grandma says to sit, you sit. I learned that long ago.

Moments later, she’s back downstairs holding a tattered paper she mistook for a menu from the restaurant she owned at one time with my Grandfather. She had been wanting to show me the menu for a while. “We sold chile relleno for 20 cents and tax was a penny! Can you believe the prices!” she exclaimed. But because her eyesight has grown weak, she had instead grabbed a paper someone must have given her from a birthday long ago. It was filled with prices of common goods back in 1914, the year she was born.

Population: 99,11,000
Three bedroom home: $2,575
Average Income: $518
A new Ford: $490
Gas: 35 cents
Bread: 6 cents
Milk: 35 cents
Stamp: 2 cents
Women in the work force 18.1%

I couldn’t help to think, we’ve come a long way baby, in so many ways. Gas upwards of $4.50, I saw a gallon of organic milk for $6+ on the way home! I felt bad for the industrial size bag of pita chips I had just bought at Costco for a whopping $5.99 – nearly 100% higher than what her mother had paid for a loaf of bread to feed an entire family! In this day and age of foreclosures and mortgage messes, need I say more about the house for $2575? Yes, two thousand five hundred seventy five dollars!

Times change. Oh yes they do.. and in her 94 years on this planet, she has seen so much, done so much, I marvel at her continued energy. I hope I inherit her strength, perseverance and tenacity. I know I’ve already got her sweet tooth as we spent the rest of the afternoon munching on cookies, talking, laughing, sharing. For a moment, I felt 8 again, and she, perhaps 38. A wonderful afternoon with my Grandmother of 94. What a gift she gave me on her birthday!

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

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