Earlier this week my family marked the anniversary of the passing of my Grandmother. Jacqualeen Tavenner was my Mom’s mother (and namesake) and to the many who knew and loved her she was simply “Jack”.
Grandma Jack was, in a word, unique! As certain as I am that I received my love of books and words from my Grandpa Westfall, I’m equally sure my quirkiness can be directly linked to my blue jean wearing wise-cracking Grandma Jack.
Grandma Jack’s door was always open to anyone who wanted to take a seat at the kitchen table, sip a cup of coffee, play a game of gin rummy and inhale second-hand Camel cigarette smoke. Nearly every Saturday of my childhood was spent in that house- bursting at the seams with my sisters and cousins.
My Gran was equal parts “tough old broad” and “sentimental grandmother.” She could tell someone off (once or twice even ME!) at the drop of a hat, but was a real softy at heart. I know that one of her favorite memories was of picking me up at Tavennerville Elementary on Valentine’s Day and reading each card stuffed into the red construction paper covered manila folder embossed with my name.
You couldn’t walk by her without getting slugged in the arm. “Love pats” is what she called them. As difficult as it was for her to show it in traditional ways, she loved her grandkids and we loved her!
We loved going to her house on Pennsylvania Avenue at Christmas! Gran was never anyone’s definition of conventional. She didn’t bake cookies and make fudge like my Grandma Westfall, but she always bought the best candy! Her kitchen was filled with chocolate covered peanuts, caramels and cream drops bought at, if my memory serves me, the “Annual Mineral Wells Fire Department Christmas Candy Sale”. I can’t look at a box of ribbon candy without thinking of Grandma Jack.
I’ll miss that tough old broad this Christmas, but in her memory today I will drink copious amounts of coffee and scour the Christmas Market for a cellophane bag of chocolate covered cream drops! I might even slug someone in the arm…
Until next time…Merry Christmas Today and Every Day!