We have been married for 24 years. We have 5 kids: Josh, Jacki, Jaycee, Amberly & Elizabeth. We also have 5 grandchildren: Ezequiel, Tatiyana, Anaya, Zemicha & Zariah. Zariah is in heaven watching over us for now. We have 5 tiny Chihuahua's, a cat with a never ending supply of kittens and a never ending line of strays brought home by the little girls. We are doing our best to muddle through on this rollercoaster called life!!
I was born in Fillmore Utah. It was still a pretty small town then and with only 1 OB doctor who had two OB nurses, one of which was my Grandma, so it was a good bet that she would be present at my birth. What actually happened is that the doctor didn't make it to the hospital and my Grandma delivered me. Of course the records don't show that, but she told me about it often.
I lived in Fillmore Utah until I was 5 and I remember stopping at Grandma & Grandpa Carroll's house on my way home from kindergarten (yes it was safe to walk the 5 blocks~ no worries about psychos in that small town back then) and Darren (my friend and neighbor) would stop so Grandma would give us a treat. Sometimes a homemade cookie or some candy, sometimes just a carrot, piece of fruit or something else fresh from the garden.
When my parent's moved me to Provo I looked forward to the long ride back down to Grandma's house. Now I should say it is only about 1 1/2 hours away, but I felt it took days to get there. First thing when we arrived Grandpa would give us all 3-4 empty soda bottles and send us off to "Dale's" to turn them in for the refund so we could buy candy and then Grandma would usually sneak each of us a dime or quarter from her apron pocket to add to it, but that was a secret between her and the kids (probably not, but I thought so then). Off the 3 blocks we would go talking about what we would get.
Each of us spent at least 20-30 minutes walking around the little store, thinking about it now reminds me of what the store on Little House on the Prairie was like. Anyway, we would have to decide just perfectly what we could get and then we would give Dale our order. He would get us each out a little brown paper sack and put our candy in a piece at a time as we went through all we wanted. I kind of think he would throw in some extras too because it was always so much candy for what little money we had, but I guess small towns are like that- or were.
After what seemed like an eternity waiting for everyone to choose we would all run the 3 blocks back to Grandma's with our treasures.
Since a lot of my cousins lived in Fillmore word would get around and by the time we got our candy finished the yard would be full of kids ready to play. I can't even remember all the things we would do, but I do remember playing in the ditch in front of the house. It seemed like a giant river at the time and I never tired of it.
Sometimes we would help Grandpa in the garden, weeding and picking vegetables for our dinner. I remember taking a basket of freshly picked green beans into Grandma and she would let me help her snap them, then she cooked them in milk and they were so good. In fact, it is because of her that I even eat any vegetables at all because I really dislike them as a whole, but she had a magic touch and could get me to try them and some turned out to be OK after all.
My Grandma was the best baker in the world. All breads, pastries and sweets in her home were homemade. When we were there she would let us help knead the dough and when we were a little bigger we got to help shape the dough into whatever we were making. I remember one time being so excited because she had bought some tiny bread pans since out last visit and we all got to make our own little loaf of bread.
After dinner the grown-ups would usually play cards or sit on the porch talking while all the kids played hide and seek or kick the can until we were to worn out to do anything else. Then after the cousins all went home, Grandma would tuck us in her old fashioned big feather beds with the wonderful quilts she had made. My Grandma was an avid gardener. She had the most beautiful rosebushes, tulips, and tables full of house plants. No matter what time of year it was my Grandma always smelled of lilacs. She had these HUGE bushes and when they were in season she always kept a little sprig in her pocket. I don't know what she would do the rest of the year, but no matter when we went there her hug would smell of lilacs. Even now when I smell lilacs anywhere at any time I think of her and those great memories of her house. Occasionally when I am having a really bad day, out of nowhere the smell of lilacs will drift by and I think she may be there, letting me know it will all be OK.
I hope that I can be as loving, caring and wise as my Grandma was to me to my grandchildren. I hope to teach them to bake, to care for plants and to love animals and little babies with all their hearts. It was her that taught me to see the good in everyone and to give a little more even when I thought I had nothing left to give. She was the most generous person I have ever known and would have given her last cent to make another person's life easier. She raised a dozen kids with little money and lived a very modest lifestyle, but with a heart so big that made it hard to even think of anything you didn't have because she made life so full. She was not a flashy woman, she didn't dye her beautiful silver hair and I don't remember her ever wearing make-up (she could have, but I don't remember it), but she always made me feel beautiful even at my lowest times. She was not a wealthy woman, but she was rich with love and wisdom beyond what most people can even dream.
I hope I can instill some of her values in my kids and grand kids. The world is a better place because she was in it and she will forever live in the memories of all her grandchildren and the smell of a lilac bush.
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