My maternal grandmother was very special to me. She was a tough woman who didn’t take any junk from anyone, was completely honest and who treated me like an adult even as a young teenager. I really appreciated that. She told me when she thought I was wrong and when she though I was right and my folks were wrong. I don’t know that my parents appreciated that. She died in 1976, after 45 years of heavy smoking.
She was born on Thanksgiving, and it always gave the holiday, as nice as it already was, a lift for me. For a long time now, I have made a toast to her each Thanksgiving, to her life as she led it on her owns terms, and to the bond we shared as grandmother and grandson. She taught me many lessons in life, often just by example. Even though she was poor herself, she took in homeless people, fed them, and made sure they were warm and had a bed to sleep in. In exchange (for she was no coddler), she expected them to help with chores (my grandfather had long passed), to stay sober, and to look for work to get their lives back together. She was very religious, and strongly believed that helping those in need was God’s work. She prayed every evening, but never for anything for herself. She prayed for her loved ones, her family, for her friends and for the world.
A few years ago, I decided to start a family tradition in her memory. I took passages from Native American prayers and put them together to create my own prayer, a book of prayer, each page giving thanks in a new way, a family prayer of thanks. I reproduced it so each person at our Thanksgiving table had a copy and could read a part of the prayer. This year, we will again read from the book of prayer in memory of my grandmother on her birthday, Thanksgiving Day. We love and miss you Gram. Happy Birthday.
Bruce M. Hardina
Editor & Publisher