My grandmother, Louise, died on my daughter's 15th birthday. This amazing woman was born on Leap Day when President Taft was in office! I have been so lucky to have her in my life that I can hardly imagine life without her.
When I was growing up in Austin, she lived two blocks away. She and my grandfather were my protectors, my guides, and my extra set of parents. Whenever I was in trouble, I went over there and stayed with them for a while. They never let me off the hook - always made me tell them what was wrong - but they supported me. When my family had moved all over the country and settled in Tennessee, I returned to Texas for college and lived with them for the first year (she made me do my own laundry and was furious that I left home not knowing how to do it). Whenever I was dating someone, they were the first people who got to meet her. (So it was very important that they met my wife when we were only dating...in fact, Grandmother phoned me and said, "I'd like her as a granddaughter-in-law!")
She lived without my Grandaddy for the past ten years. In that time, she learned to be more independent and live on her own. How she did that I have no idea - they were married for 62 years and they were full partners.
She always told the most amazing stories, and I never tired of hearing them. This is a good skill she had considering she was a librarian. I always hoped my story-telling skills were half as good as hers.
Her yard was her pride and joy. I always told folks that my grandmother could grow corn in the driveway if she tried. This probably came from being raised on a farm in central Texas. She sure worked me hard when I was her yard boy for several years, but I sure know how to care for a yard today.
She was one cool lady. I will miss her as my mentor, my friend, my champion, and my grandmother. I wish you could have known her...you would have loved her too.