Today would have been my grandmother's 95th birthday. I was very lucky that she lived until a few years ago, in great health until the end. It seemed appropriate that I was puttering in the garden this morning, tending to some peonies, which were one of her favorite flowers. You must know, though, that in her New York accent, they were always "pee-OH-nies;" I continue to call them "pee-OH-nies," simply because it provides me with an ongoing link to our relationship.
I'm sure that everyone feels they had the best grandmother, and I know lots of people who remember baking cookies, grandmothers in an apron, or a little old lady with gray hair. I consider myself lucky that mine was much more like "Auntie Mame" in my life, with a little "Dame Edna" thrown in for good measure.
There was no question that my grandmother was a great cook, but "Ma" felt her daughter (my mother) could teach the next generation how to cook. As a grandmother, she felt it was more important to teach me my first real curse words, how to order in a Chinese restaurant, and her personal Theory of Decorating (Maribou feathers on anything are good; glitter is better, and if people say it's gaudy, they must be jealous.) She appreciated nice plants and flowers, but had an equal appreciation for plastic flowers, which were everywhere in her home.
A few years ago the security guard at Disney World pointed out to my six-year-old niece and I that we should not be lying down on the moving sidewalks at Epcot. She replied, "Sir, we're not people. We wanted to see what the brocolli at the supermarket feels like." The guard simply shook his head and walked away........I think Ma must have rubbed off on me a little.......