Sunday, February 15, 2015

Honoring Ruth: (2) When it Snows She has no Fear

In her own handwriting, in a book she made for my cousin Cameron.
Check out the fifth line from the bottom,  Season: "I love the snow...."
He spoke from his heart, the memories pouring out of him as he set them parallel with the verses. She was the most beautiful lady I've ever known, and she walked with grace and virtue. His words brought comfort to us as we gathered to honor her days. I sat with my mother and father together as we savored this bittersweet and powerful moment. We allowed our minds to drift into memories.

When it snowed in Ohio we never knew if it would be a dusting or a thick accumulation. I've seen pictures of the blizzard of '76 with me standing bundled in the shadow of snow that towered over my head, and I remember the spring that surprised us with over a foot of snow on Easter Sunday. My grandparents lived in a forested area outside of town and hills surrounded their A-frame home. For hours I rode a plastic sled down those hills, with Goldie the Golden Retriever cheerfully bouncing and barking around my laughing descents.

My Mammaw Ruth loved the snow. She would join me for a time and then she'd observe me through the glass with a warm cup of coffee as she sat beside the hearth inside. I remember that day, with the roads still covered, she drove into town so that we could enjoy a Frosty together from Wendy's.

My uncle shared from the podium beside her, as she rested with a Bible in her hands, that she had done exactly the same thing in the big snow of '76. He said that her reply after being told that the roads were too bad was, "well, we're sure to get a good parking place." 

Mammaw Ruth found the beauty in the snow like she saw the beauty in life. She didn't merely appreciate the ethereal shine of the snow while sitting beside the hearth. Sure, that was something to be enjoyed as well and it had its place in her day. But she also felt the wind kiss her face red as she shrieked down a snow covered hill with a boy and a dog. She put a car into drive and heard the crunch of the tires into think and perfect banks of snow as we explored the eerie silence of blanketed roads in search of a frozen chocolate treat.  She did not fear the snow. 

She did not fear the snow, she embraced life. She taught me how to smile and find beauty in the moment, rather than to bemoan the limitations of the day. If the weather was scorching, well... we played with the hose. If snow surrounded us with its arms of silence, we fell into that embrace and celebrated with snow angels. 

I was young. I noticed the fun stuff that she did. But her actions were rooted in something far deeper than the snow that turned our world magical. And this deep foundation gave her the fortitude to be the strong, gentle, beautiful lady that she was day in and day out. For us grandkids, she was our safe-harbor, our open arms, an always perfectly timed hug or kiss on the cheek. She represented the best of our world. 

Proverbs 31, verse 10 though the end describes my Mammaw perfectly. She gave to the poor, she had the confidence of her husband  she prepared what was needed for those she loved, she spoke with wisdom and laughed at the days to come. 

I think back to those moments in that funeral and I can hear the voice of my uncle as he explained, "you see, Mom wasn't afraid of the snow. She'd get out there and she'd enjoy it. She'd make sure that the whole family enjoyed it. Because that's how Mom lived life. She did her best to make sure we were prepared for the unexpected. And when it fell down on us, she had no fear of the snow.

"When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet."

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