Monday, November 26, 2007

Bootie Ma'amer! A Tribute to Grandma Ruth

My Grandma Ruth passed away on November 19. She was a special gal. Her funeral was last Friday and she was buried in true Ruthie style sporting her American flag shirt, puffy vest and grey sweatpants. If you knew her, that makes you smile...if you didn't, well, smile. Here is my tribute to her that I read at her funeral.

Bootie Ma’amer!
A Tribute to Grandma Ruth

Hello, I’m Resa Eastwood, Ruth’s granddaughter. My full name is Resa Ruth Eastwood, named after my mom, Julane Ruth and of course, Grandma Ruth. The first thing I must say is “Bootie Ma’amer!” it’s cold outside! As I was sitting down to work on this talk about Grandma, it was beginning to snow and I realized I hadn’t included this little gem of a Ruthie saying. When I was a little munchkin I called Grandma, Ma’amer and in our family “bootie cold” is really cold! Now even my little ones say “Bootie Ma'amer” on a cold day not even knowing it refers to Ruthie.

I talked to my grandma a week before she passed away. When she answered the phone in her trademark “mm-Hello?” and I said “Hi Grandma, it’s Resa” she replied, as usual, with “Where are you?” “At home in Kansas City, Grandma”, “Well, you sound so close, I just can’t believe how clear it sounds!”. I just shook my head and thought that maybe someday she’d know that I’d sound just as close whether I was next door or far away. That evening my husband suggested that next time I should tell her I’m calling from her basement…just to see what she’d say.

Ruthie was funny with out meaning to be, sassy because she could get away with it and very matter of fact about life. Fiercely patriotic, she instilled in me and probably many others a love for the “good ol’ USA” and taught me to fly the flag proudly and to never forget to vote…she hadn’t missed a primary election in years or maybe ever? I’m sure she told me last time I saw her. She paid respects at the cemetaries this past Veteran’s Day to her friends killed in WWII…that was the day we talked. This year for Christmas, I bought her an American flag “car flag”. I thought maybe it was one gift that she wouldn’t re-gift back to me or someone else in a couple years after cleaning out her “stuff”. I haven’t been out to her home yet, but I have a feeling our family will have one of the easiest experiences in going through things…I know she has masking tape on the bottom of several object saying who it goes to…except for the orange chairs…and she always said we could just fight over them when she was gone. She was one super organized woman, even without HGTV shows to show her how to do it.

There are many things she taught me as a young girl…first, never leave home without your nails done…so I painted my nails today. She taught me that a bowl of cereal before bed is a good thing, hand embroidered tea towels and pillowcases are the best—and how to make them, turquoise rings are fun to wear and you can use MaryKay eyeshadow wet or dry. Grandma taught me how to watch football, to listen to country music…especially George Strait. Though, unlike her, I don’t keep photos of him in my family photo albums. She was the first person I cruised Main Street with…she had KFDI cranked up high in her big red Cougar and I was hiding under the dashboard mortified and hoping no one saw me. Ruthie taught me that it’s always fun to dress up in costumes and wigs…even for no special occasion, but just for a good time.

She said to stay away from the boys, but then to love my sweetie, and if we’re both happy that’s all that matters. She loved animals…but also taught us that there will always be more cats! She taught me how to play cards and just recently we had to call her out for trying to cheat playing Scattergories by making up things that supposedly were from “way back, way back”. From her I learned the verses to “You Are My Sunshine” and I loved to listen to Ruth and Dobin sing it as a duet. We sing it to our kids as a lullaby now…they call it “Sunshine”.

When you wished Ruth “Merry Christmas”, she said “everyday is Christmas”…which I still don’t believe, but she did make me realize that having all those people over to eat isn’t what you have to do for holidays. That’s probably why the Snook Family Christmas has been the Snook Family Bowling Extravaganza for the last several years!

The last many years…and maybe even before that…she told the same stories over and over and would always act surprised when we were able to finish them for her. She loved to tell her stories and I know many of you probably know a lot of them. She liked to stop in at various businesses in town and say hi and I think genuinely cared for the people in her life…even if we wondered at some of her comments. The first thing she would always say to me when we’d meet is “Miss Reese, How much do you weigh?”…I never told her the truth. One time I tried to explain that no one particularly likes that question and that maybe she should refrain from asking it. She asked me again the next time we met. Sigh.

Our family put together a slideshow for Grandma’s 80th Birthday party this past January. I didn’t want her to know what we were doing, but needed to get my hands on lots of her favorite photos…when I asked her to send me some of them, she took them to a copy machine and ran them off for me and mailed them. Not quite what I was thinking, so I ventured out to her home armed with my scanner, laptop and my two little kids for an afternoon of scanning photos as she told me stories about all the people and memories. I’m really surprised she let me do it with all the wires and contraptions I had set up…she wouldn’t even plug in her VCR for fear it would blow up her electricity. So I never made her a videotape copy of the slideshow…but I guess she had all the originals in her heart.

Grandma Ruth was also matter-of-fact about her love for Christ. We lived with her a couple different times when I was growing up and I can’t be more thankful for her faithfulness to bring me to Sunday school each week at the Baptist Church. I watched her do her Bible studies, listen to and watch Billy Graham and other Christian teachers, read books about different people of faith and most of all, saw God keep her heart soft through many rough waters of life…most that I was too young to know about and some that I still don’t know about. I asked her about some things from the past a couple times and no matter what the situation, she never dwelt on negative or hurtful things. She said to always remember the good times. I think only a heart that knows the peace of God and the forgiveness of Christ can carry that through time and time again. She certainly impacted my life by her simple love and focus on what is good and true. In Philippians 4:7-9, Paul wrote this message to early Christians: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

In Proverbs 31, God’s Word describes the Excellent Wife and in verse 28 it says that “her children arise and call her blessed”…a commentator says that means she is one who enjoys happy circumstances and from whom joy radiates to others. We’re going to watch the slideshow I mentioned again here in a minute, with many examples of that joy. So here’s to Ruthie…loved by many here and now loving that she is in the presence of Jesus and so many of her friends and family that went before her…we’ll miss you Grandma and be with you soon!

1 comment:

Rustin S said...

Thanks for sharing, Resa! She sounds like a great lady. Peace to you and your family.