After a huge breakfast of overly processed refined foods at the $40 Name Your Own Price Hampton Inn in Springdale we drove the the Retirement Home apartment where my grandparents now live in Rogers, Arkansas.
I haven't seen my grandparents for a couple of years and was a bit surprised to see how they have aged. I wanted to cry. Guess I did cry a bit, but tried to be discreet. My grandpa is a retired minister and even upon retirement spent many years sending out an email Bible study. Parkinsons and other old folks issues has made it hard for him to type and to even pray out loud.
My aunt directed the kids, Grandma and Grandpa and me up to the library where we sat and visited. We told them about the farm and asked them about their young days of milking and making butter. Grandma told us that her grandma was the one who milked the cow and made the butter. She sold it to neighbors. (Guess it was legal back then when people weren't so "protected" by the govt.) Grandpa said his mom did the milking but as he remembered taking a turn with the churn, it was amazing to see his arm and hand immediately take up the proper positioning. I think he had many turns with the churn! We told him we use the blender and it takes 5 minutes to make but many more to squeeze out the water. He told us it took a very long time to churn the butter and even longer to squeeze out the water. He said everyone liked his mom's butter the best in all the area because hers stayed sweeter for a long time since she was so meticulous. He also remembered being a seven year old and riding horses with his friends, jumping over wagon ruts. He went to court my grandma on horseback. They washed clothes with a scrub board and he could remember the blisters on raw knuckles and the harsh homemade lye soap.
We loved hearing the stories and I felt so privileged for the kids to be able to relate to so many things! Thank God for moving us to the farm.
We took pictures then moved to the little chapel down the hall where the girls played their piano pieces and Aunt Janet played Christmas carols out of the hymnal for us to sing. Teary farewells were said.
Even though horrible weather accompanied us all the way out of Arkansas, we rejoiced to know that we got to share some very special moments with my grandparents, the GREAT grandparents of the kids. Married for over 74 years. Remembered the ice box and the 50lb chunks of ice delivered several times a week, remembered the day when all eating was local eating. Fast food was the burger shack situated along the highway. Nobody drove 70 miles an hour. People travelled at night to avoid the sun.
We said I Love You many times. We said goodbye.
I grieved as we drove for several hours.