My gma, Mary Imogene (insert last name here) turns 88 today. So now, in no particular order, 88 things I love about her.
1. Her stories. (Not to be confused with her "stories.")
2. The way she listens to my stories.
3. How comfortable I am around her, talking to her.
4. Fake snoring.
5. Her love of children.
6. The look on her face when she opens the door and I'm standing there.
7. The way she stands at the door until I drive out of sight.
8. The way she says "yesterday."
9. Her willingness to be my "plus one" at events back home.
10. Her philosophy that if a guy doesn't like me, he must be gay.
11. Her hugs.
12. Jim White.
14. Bedtime convos.
15. Her understanding.
16. That she says "Missourah." (She's the only one I let get away with it.)
17. She remembers what foods I like. And makes them.
18. The way she loves Taco Bell.
19. Her laughs.
20. Her denture-less smile.
21. She's always a phone call away.
22. For recipes.
23. For directions.
24. For advice.
25. For gossip.
26. The way she talks about soap opera characters like they're relatives.
27. Yet didn't hold it against me when I got a job on a show that replaced them in the daytime schedule.
28. Our calls just to chat.
29. The way she talks about my granddaddy.
30. Her compassion.
31. A picture I saw once of her crawling down a hallway with one of my older sibs on her back.
32. How she uses a shopping cart to avoid using a cane in public.
33. When she holds on to me to avoid using either.
34. The way she's aging so gracefully.
35. I'll never wring a chicken's neck, but don't have to wonder what it's like because she's told me.
36. The time she taught me to de-bone a chicken. Over the phone.
37. How she signs cards "Love you, Grandma."
38. The way she talks about "old" people.
39. The way she's smarter/sharper than people give her credit for.
40. The way she never minded that we kids used to immediately run to her pantry for the cookie tin.
41. Her friendships.
42. Without her, I would have never met Miss Ruthie.
43. She talked my mom into letting me use tampons.
44. We wear the same shoe size.
45. All that she's seen.
46. Her love of her children.
47. Her love of her children's children.
48. Her love of her children's children's children.
49. Her lack of pressure because I haven't reproduced.
50. Her strength.
51. Her faith.
52. Her faith in me.
53. Her faith in my dreams.
54. The way she's not a fan of people who hurt me.
55. The way she tells me when she sees my ex (on tv) and is brutally honest about how he looks.
56. Her honesty.
57. The way she knows what I'm thinking without me saying a word.
58. The way she smells.
59. How you can take her shopping, pick out several outfits, only to have her get someone else to take her back to return them.
60. Easy silence.
61. That she's not infallible.
62. The way she used to humor me when I told my own mom "I'm gonna tell your mom."
63. I don't remember her ever saying "no" when we asked to spend the night.
64. The way she lights up when surrounded by family.
65. She always has gum. And always more than one variety.
66. She's not fat, she's fluffy.
67. She makes me laugh.
67. She's always on my side.
68. She's everything a best friend should be.
69. "She took care of me when I had blood in my urine and chicken pox." (Taken from an essay I wrote about her in elementary school. Thankfully for my 7/8 yo self they were separate occasions. I still can't imagine what that teacher must have thought of that essay.)
70. She let us swim in our underwear.
71. The way she says "ohhh" when excited or happy.
72. Her pats.
73. Her winks.
74. The way she gets her hair done every Friday.
75. How she still calls it a "permanent."
76. The way she humors me when I try and fix her hair.
77. The fact that she's a trailblazer. Nobody else in her fam has lived to be this old.
78. She produced four contributing members of society (who then went on to produce 11 more, who then went on to produce 12 more. No jail or rehab in the bunch...yet)
79. Her sweetness.
80. The random cuss.
81. "Let 'er rip." (even when you're at Red Lobster)
82. The way she gets excited when I call.
84. Her voice - often imitated, never duplicated.
85. She's moved several times, but never changed the candy drawer.
86. Her housecoats.
87. Up until she gave me her sewing machine, she still did most of my sewing fixes.
88. Without her I wouldn't be here.