I Didn’t Have “Cool” Grandparents


I didn’t have cool grandparents, but they taught me so many life skills. I remember hearing about friends’ grandparents. They bought their grandchildren things and took them for cool trips. If I asked for anything at the grocery store, I got my middle name called out and a lecture about asking for things that I did not need.

Instead, my visits consisted of walking the local mall with lunch at Piccadilly Cafeteria or hiking a park or in the Eastern Tennessee mountains with a packed lunch. I was jealous of others at the time, but now I’m thankful for all they taught me.

When we went hiking, we were quizzed on all the trees, bushes, and plant types. My grandmother was adamant we learn about poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Fallen leaves turned into questions about which tree there were from. I remember going up into the mountains once to pick muscadines to make grandma’s infamous muscadine jelly – so good on biscuits! I watched her make jelly and can other items and she even gave me all her supplies. I did not cherish them as I should have and sold them years later at a yard sale.  I wish I had kept them now.

I still have my great grandma’s sewing machine, which I spent hours watching and learning how to sew. It was one of the first electric ones ever made! We were also taught to listen to all the animals and taught to recognize each of the birds by sight and sound.

I thank them for my love of nature.

Although, I did not fully learn to play the piano as my grandmother insisted, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her play her piano or mini organ. I still get to hear my mom play hers as well and I do know how to read sheet music. We always listened to classical music in the car and at home or my cousin play the fiddle – who is a multiple national champion – as well as many other instruments.

I thank them for learning to appreciate music and all the great composers.

My grandparents were avid rock and mineral connoisseurs traveling all over the United States as well as Canada and Mexico. You should have seen the giant collection they had in their house and garage. My grandmother gave my husband a few, which he cherishes to this day. I thank them to this day for my love of precious gems and for being able to identify most.

One of my favorite things to do with my grandfather was watching a Braves game in the basement with a roaring fire. I did not care what season it was or how hot outside, I always asked him to build a fire. He loved old Westerns, so if it wasn’t baseball season, there was an episode of Gunsmoke or a John Wayne movie playing. I thank him for my ability to watch a baseball game as so many people despise the sport, as well as my love of a good fire. There is nothing more relaxing than the sound, smell, and atmosphere of a fire.

I list all these things proudly, but take that with a grain of salt. There were many things they inadvertently taught me that I did not accept and would never teach my children. I am thankful for the life skills they taught me and that my parents taught me to decipher right from wrong. There are so many traditions that are handed down simply because that is how it has always been done, but that does not make it right. I’m thankful that I didn’t have “cool” grandparents.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here