Christmas stories happen everywhere even at the check-out counter of a local grocery store.
You know you can recognize the “Santa-in-Plain-Clothes-Ho-Ho-ers, they flash a hundred-watt smile and exude an upbeat attitude that infuses the air around them.”
Their cheerfulness invites you and includes you in their circle of warmth.
That’s the way it was for this self-proclaimed, “Grandmother Great.”
Our introduction happened when she checked out her items – mint-looking candies individually wrapped in little tubes of sweetness, salty, crunchy snacks, individual bags of nuts, and candy canes among other delectables – too many to mention.
“Wow, you have an interesting collection of stuff there.”
Yes, she agreed as she gathered the goodies together and put the divider on the conveyor belt so there’d be room for my items. With a beaming smile, she said, “It’s ‘Grandmother’s Food.’”
“Oh? Seems like there’s a story there.”
“It’s a tradition. My husband I started it, bless his soul, he’s now passed away, but I continue it. We started with my kids, then moved on to grandkids, and now we’ve added great-grands. That’s how I came to be ‘Grandmother Great.’”
“What a great name.”
“Yeah, it gets even better,” she continues. “Each year, we give each child a large pillowcase. Not just any pillow case, but one specially decorated just for them with pictures or words that represent things that happened the last year in their lives.
If Sally started ballet, we put on ballet slippers or if she joined a softball team, we add a softball mitt, if that is her interest, and so on. We fill the cases several times throughout the season up until Christmas.”
“Do you do only candy?”
“No, we change it up with books, paints and playing cards and the like.
“The pillowcase thing’s been a big hit and the kids look forward to it all year. I say kids, but an adult ‘boy’ got divorced and it’s been rough. He told me this year, he wanted one of those pillowcases. Tradition’s a good thing. I keep it going.”
The exchange brought two new phrases – Grandmother Great and Grandmother Food.
This “Grandmother Great” is pretty great. Creative, loving, and dynamic, she is full of life and an excellent example of a positive attitude and creating fun in tradition. Grandmothers, as she says, often carry on traditions, and in this case, she provides a super space that strengthens relationships, makes memories, and shares tons of love.
Grandmother Great may have lots of physical treats in her grocery bag, but her “Grandmother Food” goes way beyond what she puts in their pillowcases.
Love wrapped in this creative and thoughtful tradition feeds her kids, grands, and great-grands’ minds, hearts, and souls.
What a blessing – a little Christmas miracle at the local grocery that is a wonderful true story to share.