Today is the 80th birthday of one of my favorite people ever to two-step on this earth, my Grandma Cobb. Also known as Mom, Cobbie, and Pompey, I don’t know that I ever heard anyone call her by her given name, Velma June. Grandma Cobb died just before Christmas of 2008, after a good fight with that bastard lung cancer. It’s still really hard to believe she’s gone, I feel her everywhere; when I’m hanging my laundry to dry instead of using the dryer, when I make bread or cookies, when I do a crossword puzzle, knit a scarf, or whenever we go see an old country band.
I was so fortunate to grow up about a mile away from my grandparent’s house. She and my grandpa were so tolerant of us grandkids, allowing my cousin Em and I to drag all of their shoes into the living room to play Shoe Store, or providing us with white bread and leftover gravy from the previous night’s dinner so we could play Gravy Bread Restaurant. Don’t laugh, we were imaginative entrepreneurs.
When we got old enough, she got us into the real kitchen; enlisting our help as table setters, gravy makers, sauce stirrers, and dish dryers. Frequent home cooked dinners at my grandparent’s house were something that I really took for granted as a kid; my Kid so rarely gets a real home cooked meal with the whole family at the table that I now truly realize how lucky we were.
Grandma Cobb taught me to crochet as a kid, and many years later we learned to knit together. She also taught me to make jam, to hem a pair of pants, and when she broke her arm just before Christmas one year and had to enlist my help at the last minute, how to make perfect apple pies. To this day I cringe at store bought pie crust, the real thing is just a thousand times better, and more fun to make.
When Grandma Cobb was in her 50’s, she decided to enroll at the Mueller School of Massage here in San Diego so that she could become a massage therapist. I can’t even tell you how much we grandkids benefitted from this decision. Need a foot to practice on Grandma? How about some shoulders? I got more head to toe full body massages before I was 15 than most people probably get in a lifetime. I still firmly believe that the only way we grandkids were able to sit still through church is by trading off sitting next to Grandma Cobb so she could give us hand massages during the service. I’m telling you, the hand massage trick is a technique that has come in handy (har har) more times than I can say with my own kid. There is no better way to calm a kid down, make them sit still, or get them to sleep then to grab their little hands and massage away. Thanks, Grandma Cobb!
So in honor of my Grandma Cobb’s 80th birthday I will probably eat meatloaf. She made a killer meatloaf. As for the rest of you, feel free to honor my Grandma Cobb by making a pie from scratch, knitting or crocheting something, wearing cowboy boots, doing a crossword puzzle, or giving your kid a hand massage.
Oh, and if you’re still a smoker, do yourself and everyone else a favor and honor my Grandma Cobb by quitting. Now. Your grandkids will thank you one day when they’re able to celebrate your 80th birthday with you by giving you a hug instead of writing you a blog. And if you’re feeling generous, make a donation to the American Lung Association http://www.lungusa.org/