My maternal grandmother- the one I wrote about cherishing her dining room suit....was my Nana.
She lived close to use growing up, just around the bend. She worked at a vending machine company and on Saturday's she would bring us a grab bag full of the best little trinkets in the world. She was the one that always cooked the big, southern cooking meals and made the to-die-for desserts. She always wanted us to spend the night so she could stay up late with us, playing the piano for us to sing, watching movies or taking us snail hunting. Nana loved family and people.
Every year since my mother was a child, she had a huge 4th of July picnic at her house and I went every year of my life. It was huge, sometimes over 100 people. And Nana loved it....lived for it all year. Good food. Good friends.
My grandmother passed away in June of 2002. Although she was old and in a nursing home, it was a sudden thing for us. In fact, I had visited the night before and taken her a bowl of fresh fruit and sat to talk with her for a bit. I am so thankful for that last visit. I took my son and niece, Jess, too. My mom called me before dawn the next morning to say she was gone.
My brother had moved into the old homeplace of my Nana and had fixed the place up nicely. He was carrying on the tradition of the July 4th cookout- and we have been ever since. Nana and GrandDad's-- and now my brother's house was right up the road from our church and the cemetery where Nana was laid to rest, so we were all so keenly aware of her presence that day. We missed her greatly.
So, 3 weeks after my Nana passed, food spread, blessing said with an added prayer of thanksgiving for her life, we all sat down to eat our feast. As we began to fix plates and sit, a single white dove flew down to hover briefly over the table, and then flew and sat on a branch in the majestic pecan trees that shaded the yard. As we all watched in amazement, the dove flew silently toward the church and cemetery.
I had spent many, many hours in that back yard pecan orchard in my life as had many people who were sitting at those tables. We had never EVER seen a white dove out there.
Don't tell me my Nana couldn't stand to miss one last July 4th . We all knew she was watching us.
Now we just had proof.