Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lovely Leota

My Favorite Moms- Day 3

This is Leota. She is my dad's mom. She is my favorite. I am super blessed to have lived next door to her most of my life. I say have because she passed away in September. It was a sad day. She has had congestive heart failure for the past few years and has been oxygen dependent. She was 95. I miss her a lot. It was hard to watch her because she was so active and young my whole life. Even on oxygen she would grab her portable tank and go for walks around the condo complex. She never stopped going.

When I was 8, Wayne and Leota served a mission for our church in Santiago, Chile. He was the mission doctor. While they were gone we moved into their house. I slept in the twin bed room with Molly. While they were gone the house up the road was put up for sale. We loved living out "in the gap" so my mom and dad bought the house up the road and have never moved. My sister and her husband bought Leota's house when she moved to Salt Lake a few years ago.

Growing up next door to Leota was wonderful. We would go visit whenever we felt like it. They had an apple orchard that seperated our house from theirs. It was like a fairy tale forest to us. Wayne would make homemade cider for us with his apple press. Leota would make homemade apple sauce. It was delicious. They also had strawberries and raspberries growing in their yard. Leota's freezer jam was famous. We had it every time we ate with them. She always had chocolate chip cookies in her freezer for us. She would bake them and put them in freezer bags so we could eat as many as we wanted. She loved to bake goodies and always had something yummy for us to try.

Leota loved her garden and had lots of flowers everywhere. Her yard was always beautifully landscaped. Her favorite were her rose bushes. She had bushes lining her driveway in every color you could imagine. I remember my dad giving her new bushes every so often as a mothers day gift or a birthday present. As the only son, he was involved in her life a lot. It was fun to be so close to them and to share so many fun memories

Leota loved to read. She always had a good book next to her chair that she was working on. She was a member of the same literary club for over 35 years. I also love to read and as I got older would choose books on her recommendations. We share a love of historical fiction and mystery. Most of the recipes I use today that I love the best are hers. She had the yummiest dishes. On Christmas morning we would open our gifts from Santa, get dressed, then head down the road to Grandma's for brunch. The menu was the same every year, with little variation. I still make the same Ham and Cheese Quiche and Sausage and Egg breakfast casserole and Orange Rolls for my family every Christmas. I make them more often too...they are too good to be kept to once a year. When Carson was small, he would go to her house every single day for an ice cream cone. We would watch him and when we saw him heading down the road, we would run to catch him so we could have one too.

Memorial Day was another tradition we shared with her. Wayne's family is from Smithfield, Utah and we would go decorate the graves of their family every year. She had a little girl who only lived 3 days and I know she loved to visit her. Then we went to a park down the road for a family picnic, talent show, baseball game, water fight or whatever we thought of that year. Leota would make homemade fried chicken, delicious potato salad and there would be a bag of cookies there too. Lots of other yummy food was brought to share and we really enjoyed the get together. It was the only time during the year I would see some of my cousins. This year will be the first time we go to visit her. I think I will bring roses.

I spent a lot of time sitting at her counter talking to her as she cooked. She taught me how to knit. She taught me how to embroider. She taught me how to quilt. She made a quilt for every single one of her grand daughters to have when they got married. I did not realize what they were for at the time, but when it came time to choose the one I wanted for my wedding, I choose one that I had worked on with her for several weeks. Ryan liked another one a lot better, but I was firm about having the one we made together.

Leota always made me feel like I was #1 to her. I moved away for college and was gone for a long time. Then after I was married for a couple years, we moved far away again. We have always stayed close and when I would come home to visit she was always very welcoming and happy to see me. I know it sounds silly, but she made me feel like I was the most important person who was there. "Lisha! When did you get here?" It made me feel great. I admit I loved the attention.

Whenever we went to see her, she always had a smorgeousborg of snacks ready and waiting. Even those last few times we saw her, she always had food ready for us. My kids loved it. It was always way too much food and way to many choices, but I know she loved doing it, even if it was from the store.

Being able to visit her anytime was an escape for me, and I know I have sisters who feel the same way. Leota was a wonderful listener and a great friend. I feel like I am the most like her. She taught me a lot of things and we had a lot of similar interests. We are also both very short and super sarcastic. I love her very much and it has been hard to not have her around these past few months. I always wanted to share all my news with her and she wanted to hear it. I miss that about her.

I know it has been hard on my dad to have her gone too. I am so grateful for the beliefs that I have so I know I can see her again someday. I am excited to catch her up on everything she has missed. She taught me how to be a good friend. She taught me that is it ok to not be perfect and making mistakes it just part of life. She taught me to love people when they mess up too. I love her very much. She is a shining example to me of a lot of who I want to be.

I love you Grandma. You are missed.


Robyn said...

Smithfield will be surreal this year :( I miss her so much--what an amazing woman. We were so blessed to have her as a grandma!

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