I penned these words exactly 4 years ago. Then, I could talk to Grandma and she and I could carry on conversations built upon the memories of the past, places we had been, family gatherings we remembered, and could spoke of our passion to love as only a Grandmother and Grandson could!
Elsie Mae Jenkins turns 86 today! She never wrote a book, or owned a business. She never lived in a large house, or had lots of money. Her name isn’t found on Google, she has never had an email address, or a Skype Account. Elsie Mae Jenkins has lived in the same city all her life, in the middle of North Carolina!
Yet, I named my daughter after her – Isabella Mae. You see she changed my life. I don’t call her Elsie Mae, I call her grandma! Grandma, I know you aren’t listening today, but I want the world to know how much I Love You! Thank you for praying for me every day and changing my destiny! I will always be your #1!
Today, somebody that changed your world, tell them how much you love them, you may be the only one to tell them!
Today she turns 90 and I can’t believe it! I still remember her playing in the yard with me. She seemingly was always cooking for an army with just a gentle touch and measurements from a pinch or a dash. She drove her car with the speed of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Her cute and playful smile will go down as one of my forever memories, and I will always feel her sweet hands holding my cheeks with a warm, “I Love You Danny!”
Christmas at her house, was special; but everyday was special at her house. She made a trip to the grocery store seem as if I had hit the jackpot with a bottle of my favorite soda – Cheerwine and Peppermint Patty from the candy aisle. For lunch, we would find our way to a one of a few favorite little North Carolina BBQ joints, there is nothing like it, and I had the best date all the way until the day I married Jen! Sunday dinner at her house was a College course in smells, taste, and food that I have long forgotten how to make – but manage to remember the order in which all sat. I learned how to wash dishes there on Bedford Dr., I must admit – dishes have never been that fun anywhere else.
There are a few things that I remember around her house. A writing desk that my mom and grandpa made together. An old Mountain Dew bottle – with a cartoon figure akin to Yosemite Sam as the logo. There is the knife holder on the side of the cupboard, with several of Grandpa’s homemade knives, I used to stare at them, hoping to one day use them myself. There is the picture of the mountain lodge that she used to go to with my Aunts and Uncles, the place she always found peace and rest. I remember the family photos, the trinkets from a time long ago past, the cards and well wishes from folks from her church, her plant, family and friends the she had touched with gentle love and kindness. The one thing I remember most is her copy of the Living Bible that she read everyday. Every morning before the bacon would hit the skillet, before the cup of Cheerwine was first poured. Before the rest of us had even opened the door of our rooms, much less our eyes, she had already read of the goodness of her Heavenly Father. She knew the promises to stand on, to count on, and she could tell you how to make things right when everything was caving in around.
Grandma loves Jesus! She doesn’t remember a whole lot anymore. The phone calls are lacking of fruitful thought and memories. I don’t know if she prays like she used to, even if she can recall her favorite memory verses. But I know deep down inside is a little girl that loves her heavenly Father and longs to be in His presence. I have to admit, I will cry like I did the day mom died, I’ll be a wreck on the day she goes to see Jesus. But this I know for sure – she won’t be wreck! She will be so happy and dancing and full of Joy! She will be with Grandpa and Memaw and Papaw. She’ll see her siblings and cousins and family that went before. She see my her daughter, my mom – and have a long loving embrace. But I know you Grandma, you will want to get to the lap of Jesus who you loved so much and were just like him! Until that day comes Grandma, I know that you reflect your Savior every day! You love like He does, you care like He does, and you serve like He does! You are such an earthly example of how to be like Him!
So today, on your 90th Birthday, I know I can’t hug you or celebrate with you, but I ask Jesus to speak peace to you. I pray that the love He has for you will be so real and so powerful that you know. That your dreams tonight take you to a place that bring a smile to your sleep filled body. I pray that the presence of the Holy Spirit will comfort you and take away the discomfort that old age has brought on you. I pray that tomorrow when you wake up you will sense, feel, and know how much your daughters, your grandsons, your family and friends love you so much!
Grandma, I want to you know that I will always love you and be forever honored to be your #1 Grandson!
Love You Grandma Elsie!