The women before me pt 1

As mentioned in a previous post I have been scanning old family photos my mom sent me. Here are a few of my dad's mom, my Grandma Mabel:

Grandma Mabel

Grandma Mabel

Grandma Mabel

Grandma Mabel

Grandma Mabel and me:
Grandma Mabel and me

Grandma Mabel and her sisters:
Gilstrap sisters

(left to right: Aunt Violet, Grandma Mabel and Aunt Laura)

Gilstrap sisters

(left to right: Grandma Mabel, Aunt Violet and Aunt Laura)

Grandma Mabel is the one I take most after in a lot of ways and it is her "Grandma magic" I am finally coming into. I spent a lot of time with her, simply because she and Grandpa Herb lived in California and that is where we lived most.

I've been kicking myself in the last few years for not paying attention to when she was teaching things, but then again, what kid listens to their elders when they are imparting wisdom. Some of it must have sunk in and hid for many years, since I am remembering things when I need it.

She also had a very wicked sense of humor. One story told was when Uncle Herb brought his new wife, my Aunt Lila, to visit. Aunt Lila was a city girl through and through and Grandma was a country girl. She and Grandpa had a nice piece of property in Grass Valley, big enough for a large vegetable garden, rose garden, fruit trees, chickens and Grandpas shop/garage and the house. Not huge, but big enough to raise 3 boys and grow most of their own food.

The first morning Herb and Lila were there, everyone was having breakfast and Grandma asked Lila if she would like fried chicken for dinner (Grandma made killer fried chicken) and Lila said yes. Later that morning, Grandma was showing Lila around the property and eventually they came to the chicken coop. The chickens were out, doing what chickens do (great pest control for the garden) and Grandma pointed to one chicken in particular and asked Lila what she thought of it. Lila, being polite, said it was a nice chicken.

Whereupon my Grandmother swooped up the chicken, slapped it on the chopping block and grabbed the hatchet.

For some reason Aunt Lila couldn't bring her self to eat any chicken that night.

Another story she told was about the horney toad she found out in the garden one day. She was out weeding and came across it. When it saw Grandma, it froze, hoping to not get eaten, so she picked it up and put it on the lapel of her blouse and continued on working.

Soon it was time to head into town and do a bit of grocery shopping. Grandma was raised you did NOT go into town wearing your grubby clothes, so she went into clean up and change. She still had that horney toad on her shirt, so she plucked it off and set it on the dresser. Mr Horney Toad, still not wanting to get eaten, stayed put.

When she'd changed, she picked him up and put him on the lapel of her clean blouse, grabbed her purse and hopped in the car and headed to Safeway.

Once there she proceeded with her shopping and eventually ran into an acquaintance from church. They stood talking for a spell and the acquaintance eventually noticed the horney toad.

"What an interesting broach you have Mabel!" as she reached out a finger to touch it.

Now, Mr Horney Toad did NOT like being poked, so he zipped up my Grandma, around her neck and came to rest on her other lapel.

Grandma says you could have heard that lady screeching clear down to Sacramento, she was so surprised.

The lady stopped talking to my Grandma, not sure why hehehehehehe

I do miss my Grandma Mabel and wish I'd spent more time listening and observing. Esp her cooking. She very rarely used recipes and never made the same batch of cookies twice, but she never made a bad cookie in my experience.