For the love of people and passions


Grandma Esther always looked out for me no matter where we were, and what we were doing.

Be it baiting fishing hooks in Minnesota, walking past roving eyed cowboys in Wyoming,
camping in the mountains of Colorado, or looking for rocks in Utah, this woman had my back.

So I was a little concerned when I first saw the quizzical expression in the photo from my wedding day.

“Doesn’t Grandma like Richard?” I asked Mom when I saw the picture of her looking up at my husband and me.

“Oh absolutely! She particularly likes that he’s such a smart guy”.

Whew. I was relieved. He’d passed the test.

And I quickly discovered Grandma shared my husband’s passion for art. I was reminded of that this week as I stumbled across a package of old prints of Grandma’s sandwiched between some heavy art books.

Grandma had used the collection in her old schoolroom, teaching a little art history between spelling and reading back in the 1930s. From the order form inside, it looks like she’d opted for the “2 cents a print” size.

Thinking about Grandma and her appreciation of art, I remembered just how many other varied interests she’d had and kept through out her life: Road trips, weaving, crocheting, cooking, volunteering, spending time in nature, and collecting all those rocks.

And she always made it a point to share her passions with others.

It was another way of looking out for us and “broadening our horizons”.

Her zest for life wasn’t slowed much by the aging process. It seemed Grandma just had a knack for reinventing herself. Driving back and forth to California from the Midwest in an old VW van or camper truck so she could keep teaching migrant children into her 70s. Traveling internationally on new adventures many times. And living in three other states after leaving her hometown, always keeping herself busy and very active.

I wonder if staying engaged with all those passions and having such a caring nature helped nudge Grandma into her 90s before she passed away?

I was thinking about that this week when the phone rang. The caller was the 99 year old minister who had married Richard and me 27 years ago A renaissance man himself, he worked well into his 80s. And he is passionate about art and helping people.

Turns out he was calling to check up on me.

Maybe there’s something to my theory after all.

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