Muffin with her Great Grandma
Muffin visiting Grandma in her room.

After Grandpa died, and Grandma moved just down the street from us, I was couponing a good bit and offering to pick up things up for her while I was out.

She insisted on paying and most of the time I could tell her, “No, no, no, you don’t understand, it didn’t cost that much, it was part of a bigger order that helped me make money off my total, I had a great coupon, even if you see a price sticker that’s not what I paid for it,” etc.

She’d poured her life into mine (and everybody’s lives) since before I could remember and it was fun to do things for her because she showed so much gratefulness and was tickled and thrilled by even the smallest things. For instance, if you asked if she was having a good day she would say, “Every day is a good day!”

She would pass this off as just the way anyone would respond to life after so many years on earth, or having lived through the Great Depression which made her appreciate small things, or having lost her father and sister early on which made everyone else in her family that much dearer, or just overflowing with the joy of the Lord as anyone who knew Jesus would.

And then there were the little reminders, years later, that you had mailed her those earrings and oh! how she loved them, and how she felt close to you when she wore them! (And you would squint and try to remember when you ever had time to put earrings in an envelope.)

But it was all just a part of that instant endearment that she possessed – the little gasps, the eyes growing wide, the hands to mouth, the infectious laugh, the happy claps, the deep sighs of gratefulness, and little murmurs of delight – she was over-the-top expressive. People would meet her once and then ask about her the next ten times you saw them. And if you were having a bad day, she was the person to call.

So needless to say, a little daily dose of Grandma was good for me right after the baby was born…as was a lot of getting out of the house to go shopping.

After awhile, she’d occasionally let me pick up little things for her without insisting on settling up the transaction. So one afternoon, I stopped by with a couple of bottles of vitamins she’d wanted me to keep an eye out for and that I’d happened to stumble upon in a clearance section. She was in her room.

With the sale and some really good coupons, the vitamins had rung up better-than-free (the extreme couponer’s dream) but it didn’t seem like any fun to just come out and say that. So, while only halfway in the room and with the baby still on my hip, I launched into an explanation of how expensive her shopping was becoming and how I’d really needed to be reimbursed this time.

She seemed almost dismayed as she told me she was always happy to pay, and began to pat around for her handbag on the bed where she’d been sorting papers and opening mail.

How much?” she looked up at me, purse finally in hand.

I was trying not to giggle when I adopted my most sincere tone and explained to her how the total order, of six items including tax, was six cents! Pricey! So since she was getting two items out of the order, she’d have to give me two cents for her portion.

I shrugged apologetically, hiding half my face behind the baby’s head, as I tried to maintain a serious composure.

Well! I think I can afford that!” she laughed. And laying her purse aside, she theatrically sorted through some change on the nightstand until she turned up a penny and a nickel. “I’m feeling pretty generous though, more than just give you my full two cents worth, I think I’ll take care of the whole order!”

“Oh, and I don’t need change.”

I pocketed the two coins with a realization that Grandma’s mind was as sharp as ever. She had an incredible wit which she only used to bring joy and to build others up and could follow along even with my silly sense of humor.

R.I.P. Grandma. It’s only been a week but you’re missed so much already!! And I’d sure love to get your two cents on just about anything right now.

-RM