Today is the day after we have parted ways, Grandma.
I wanted to take some time to share with those of you who are here because Wanda Jones had touched your life in someway and brought peace to your day, much like it did to mine each day we spent together.
I am honored to have been able to be a part of your life. Today has been a day of reflection and commitment to share with your friends and family the incredible influence you have had on my life.
You might have thought it was odd and I never really told you why I took you to those strange places when we went out of town to your doctors visits. So let me tell you now.
You see, from the moment we left the driveway we had many talks on that 3 hour journey to and from the doctor with each visit and usually I would ask you if you had done something or been somewhere.
These questions helped determine what our little date was going to be like that day. We generally didn’t have much time in between the appointments to do the big things like skydiving or go cart racing; but I know you would have been on board if you were my age.
So often, we would end up somewhere for lunch at a fancy restaurant and then we would drive thru neighborhoods that my former companies had serviced so I could show you customers that had hired my company.
I know you were proud of me and in fact, it was because of your encouragement that I could build and then sell a company that would be the most awarded cleaning company in the state. When others told me I needed “to get a job” you told me I just needed to do more hard work and that you believed in me.
Thank you for making sure I was doing the hard things as a young kid while mom was at work. You always encouraged our family to work on something to make it beautiful. Thank you for encouraging me to win at whatever I put my mind to.
As I continue to grow and face different challenges; I always remember one story in particular about you. I remember it because, my mother was terrified and within reason. A snake had made himself at home in the kitchen floor.
I was just a child and mom wouldn’t let me near it, but I remember you and great grandma showing up at the house with shovels to take care of this new guest. I know it might be a small thing for those reading, but, grandma, you have always raced towards the challenges, even if they were scary.
You have raised a beautiful family and provided encouragement even if it put you in a challenging place. It is your courage to move forward and face head on, any challenge put in your way. The snake story is an inspiration to me when I have a challenge of my own and need the courage to win. What’s scarier than a snake? I can do this. It’s easy, I just need to make a shovel.
When the tornado destroyed your home in 2009 you rebuilt an even better home. When you faced health issues you stayed strong. If anyone has shown me persistence, it has been you.
Since 1935 you have seen a great deal of things no doubt, You saw President Kennedy in 1961 when he visited your small town of Big Cedar, Oklahoma. He talked about commitment and persistence to building strength within our own country. “With one hand we hold the hammer and with the other we hold the sword, and we are determined to maintain our strength and our commitments.” — JFK.
You saw the end to a World War, watched American’s land on the moon, and have seen multiple advancements in Civil rights acts and Freedoms that many of us take for granted today.
More recently, you were persistent on staying active regardless of your health.
Your Persistence to maintaining strength when all odds are against you has been incredible and you have always inspired me to never give up on my dreams just because of the time it will take to accomplish them.
That time I called you to make biscuits and gravy like you did it and you told me the ingredients but really didn’t give me much to go on for measurements. I messed it up and had to call you back because I had no idea that I was about to make enough gravy to feed a family of eight.
I see now why you made biscuits and gravy for us kids. It’s because it’s something you made perfectly and it was a sort of perfection for those who showed up to your delicious breakfast.
When you focused on a hobby you loved, you gave it all your love. When your fingers ached, you still made each stitch with commitment to complete a new quilting project for your loved ones.
I never told you this grandma, but there was several you made just for fun and you wanted to sell them. I may have fibbed a bit when I handed you the money and told you I sold it like you wanted when actually I just bought them and knew you wouldn’t have accepted the money if you knew that I actually had kept the quilts.
You have taught me to put my love into my projects and my family while encouraging my family to do great things, loving them for who they are.
While Love can be found in many forms I think I learned what love looked like most from you.
If you didn’t have the pleasure to know Wanda, I assure you that the world was richer because of these 4 values encouragement, courage, love, and persistence. Wanda had a positive impact on everyone that she met.