Grandma’s Gift


My grandmother had few possessions of any monetary value. When she passed away a few years ago in her early nineties, I was the executor of her estate. My father and uncle had given me the assignment years earlier when my dad was still living, and they deemed me, as the oldest grandchild and the one with a business degree, the person who should handle this project for my grandmother. I went with her to prepare her will, and I coordinated the disposal of her property after her death.

blog Grandma1Because she was a woman without much means, each family member basically “called dibs” on items in the home that we connected with in some sentimental way. It was done with civility and courtesy… and tears.

My outdoorsy cousin claimed some hunting items of my grandfather’s and an antique-looking phone decoration with dusty, fake flowers on it. My sister wanted the blue-and-white cookie jar. My son wanted an old scythe from the garage. And so it went.

I took for myself a wall hanging that hung on the wall for years, and, for me, was the essence of my grandmother.

(Grandma with my son when she spent a few days helping me in ’97.) 

 It read:

Four Things Every Woman Should Know

How to Look Like a Girl

How to Act Like a Lady

How to Think Like a Man

How to Work Like a Dog

For the most part, she did these things. I will admit that she was known to flash a certain finger privately if provoked by smart aleck kids, but she always looked nice out-and-about, and she had the thinking and working down.



(Boy, wouldn’t she be excited right about now! This was taken one Christmas during the 70’s.)


I love the advice, but I am afraid many women today have failed in these areas.

A trip to the local Wal-Mart in most small towns demonstrates that many of us don’t take time to present ourselves properly to the world. Perhaps this is a lack of pride, time or means, but I think we have gotten lazy about looking as nice as we can in the world. I am guilty of this.

It takes all of five minutes of TV or internet to see that lady-like behavior is truly a thing of the past. The ways in which females behave is shocking and disturbing, unhealthy and damaging to individuals and the culture.

We are all so obsessed with our own thoughts that few take time to consider how others think. We learn about personality and interpersonal relationships in our culture and through our work, but do we care enough to practice those insights in the name of harmony? Most do not.

And, work ethic. Well, that’s a challenge for us parents as we raise girls and boys. Things come too easy for young people much of the time, and adults should remember to reward work, effort and determination for its own sake.

Four simple statements offer guidance to women on how to survive and thrive in the world. Maybe they were written in a different time, but are they irrelevant now? I think our daughters would be better citizens, wives, mothers and Christian sisters if they followed some of this sage wisdom.

(Grandma and Grandpa with my Dad’s horses and us four oldest grandkids in the early 80’s.)


Thanks, Grandma, for the plaque and for living the message. It’s a gift as good as any I could have received!

Enjoy a Thoughtful Thursday!



4 responses

    • I am. I think sometimes kids today don’t get to spend as much time with grandparents, or they just don’t have as many years with them. We start our families later, and our lives are so busy. Those lazy days at the Grandma and Grandpa’s house just isn’t as big a part of life.

  1. Erma was the best and a true icon in Eolia. I know my grandmother loved working with her in the Clopton kitchen. She was a lady at all times, but had a quick (and sometimes cutting) wit! Many memories of your grandma.

    • Thanks, Connie! I didn’t know that she worked with your grandmother, but I do know she loved being part of Clopton. I’d say you’ve got her pegged.