Grandmas Rule

Monday, February 27, 2012 —

One nice thing about living in a place with constant sun is that kids can play in the back yard all winter long.  This makes it handy when babysitting grandchildren.  Our seventeen-month-old toddler ran back and forth across the lawn chasing his older siblings.  He never caught up to them, but there was joy in his journey.  He ran and laughed and pranced about, falling occasionally and getting right back up.  Fluffs of air ruffled the feather-soft hair on his head as he ran.

The little man abruptly stopped when his foot plopped into an unexpected indention in the grass.  He quickly climbed out of the hole and curiously bent over to examine the obstacle in his path.  He was fascinated by the hole.  He tore off tufts of nearby grass and stuffed them into the earthen bowl.  Then he ceremoniously stepped into the hole and out of the hole numerous times to gauge its depth.  Finally he wiggled his diapered derriere into the ditch and snuggled into a comfortable fit.

Grandma Salopek and Baba Gagich holding me. 1959

As I watch my grandchildren, I think about my own grandmothers and the legacy of love they left me.  I hope I can measure up to the standard they set for me.  I think particularly of my Grandma Katie whose daddy died when she was just two-years old.  That winter a 25-year-old widow, Ana, returned to Croatia with her  baby daughters, bundled up against the elements and traveling home on a cold boat in a crowd of strangers.  The ship tossed to and fro on billowing waves that attempted to swallow them up in their grief.  But, they held fast and headed home to the warmth and support of family and friends on another continent.  What bravery in the face of hardship and affliction!

From that day on my Grandma Katie and her sisters were raised in a small village by their grandma, assisted by aunts and uncles.   I realize that is when she learned all about a grandmother’s love.  Her life of selfless sacrifice arose from the exemplary service of her own grandmother.   When I close my eyes, I can see my grandma and her sisters running through the fields of wildflowers and chasing butterflies.  I see them doing household chores, helping in the kitchen, feeding chickens, and growing into beautiful young women who had families of their own.

I wish I could have met their grandma, my great-great grandmother.  I want to know all about her and get her advice on a few things.  But, then again, I feel as though I already know her.  I know her when I wipe a dirty face.  I know her when I hug away a tear.  I know her when I put a stinker in time out and teach him right from wrong.  I know her when I watch a little guy sitting in a ditch in my backyard, nestled in for the night.

(c) 2013 Patricia J. Angus

Originally published on  February 27, 2012 at

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