I never met her….But in the last 23 years I have heard of her often.
In the spring of ‘87 as I pulled up to the stop light I had no idea that the Air Force guy in the red ‘69 Chevelle would become my best friend and love of my life. After my friends and I exchanged a few comments out the window with the guys next to us we pulled over to talk.
On one particular date, with tears filling his stunning blue eyes, he finally shared with me the story of how only a few days before the previous Thanksgiving his life had been forever changed.
On a crisp Wisconsin Autumn day he stopped in to visit with his Grandparents. It was his first trip home on leave and time was short. But there was no doubt that he would take time to enjoy lunch with some of his favorite people. After a simple meal and light conversation Grandpa headed out for an afternoon of playing cards with neighbors. Rob stepped into the spare room and returned in his Dress Blues. He was headed across town to the high school to visit with some of the students. As he entered the living room Grandma Veletta couldn’t have been prouder.
My dear husband’s favorite memory is how she smiled and then walked into her bedroom. She returned carrying a lint brush and began to brush his suit. What a precious moment for the two of them. As he left the house he told her that he loved her and gave her a hug.
Unaware that it would be the last hug he would get from his beloved Grandmother.
After school he received a phone call.
Grandma had begun her baking for the Thanksgiving meal. As she was mixing up a batch of pumpkin pie filling it seems that Jesus was calling her home…
When Grandpa arrived he found his precious Veletta lying in the kitchen floor….glasses still on…no sign of suffering….fully looking at peace…
The passing of Grandma Veletta left a definite void in the lives of many people. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have heard the words….”oh, you would have loved Veletta…” and “Veletta would have loved you…” The stories that I hear are always about her gentleness and patience… Or her generosity and unconditional love… And how she was the center of strength for her family.
I have had the privilege over the years of being on the receiving end of gifts given to me from wonderful women in my life. Gifts that Grandma had made and these women wanted to share them with me. My favorite of all of these is a yellow gingham apron. Although it is simple it represents so much to me. I look at the stitches and I am reminded of her love of sewing. That this little apron was made by her own hands. The loving hands that I never got to hold. But I am all too aware of how those hands held this family together in a way that I can be proud to call them my own.
And then leaving Earth doing what she loved…. baking a simple pie for her family.
Chorus from Nichole Nordeman’s song….Legacy
I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy