Iced tea with Crystal Light and a deck of cards

My grandmother passed away this week. It is less of a tragedy because she really hasn't been herself in quite a long time. Time and age had eaten away at her mind and her body so much that she was barely recognizable, and she certainly couldn't recognize anyone.
But that's not how I want to remember Grandma.
Grandma always had two things: a pitcher of tea in the fridge and a deck of cards nearby. She was a ferocious card player in her day, and if I close my eyes and think of her, the first thing I see is her sitting at the end of the table, a TV tray to her side holding an ash tray with a smoldering cigarette and a card shuffler. She'd be drinking either a cup of coffee or a glass of her special tea, which was nothing more than Lipton tea bags and crystal light lemonade. It was her specialty.
She had a curio cabinet in her house. Gold, and shaped like a hexagon or something. In the bottom is where she kept crayons and old coloring books for me, although I'm pretty sure I always wanted to play cards with the grownups. When I was old enough, we used to play Spite and Malice. Even older, it was Dealer's Choice, and you had to bring your own three nickels. I always chose to play Thirty-One.
She also had the back den set up like an office, with a coffee table for a desk. She kept stacks and stacks of papers, all mysteriously organized, and on the wall hung a picture of a Native American child somewhere in Arizona that she donated to. She loved Arizona.
She used White Rain shampoo and called spoons "poons" for some reason that I never understood, but still use to this day.
She made nutrolls and zucchini bread and always wore turquoise jewelry. In fact, she was always well-dressed and well-kept, even in old age, and that's one lesson I have learned from her.
Thinking back, I suppose I've learned more than one: Look good, make tea, and how to win at Thirty-One.


I'm so sorry about Grandma. I do love how you write about her.
Anonymous said…
Karrie I remember all those things too. I know Grandma is happy in heaven now.

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