Tuesday, October 12, 2010


There are so many things that make my Oma a great grandmother (aside from and in addition to her great grandchildren). I want to write about some of them now because Oma's been ill lately, and definitely not herself. I'm not sure how much longer we'll get to enjoy her company, so I want to share these memories now.

First, I always love to think of her kitchen. When she lived in El Paso, TX, her kitchen was always the best place to be because of all the delicious meals she prepared. Check out a Memory Lane Friday post I wrote in March, when the topic was "A Room." Click here: Memory Lane Friday - A Room to read about Oma's kitchen. Check out another Memory Lane Friday post from May, when I describe Oma's cooking: Memory Lane Friday - The Foods I Loved.

Her tacos, beans, rice, banana bread, these caramel-like, "lacy" cookies I used to refer to as "lacies," huevos con chorizo, her lemon meringue pie (the one without the coconut shavings in the lemon part) . . . the list could go on. I'm not sure what it is about her food, but it was always awesome. She said it's because she "made it with a lot of love." That's gotta be it. A grandmother's magic.

Second, I always think of the fun things we did together. Our fun adventures go way back to the early '70s.

Check us out at Western Playland (when it was still located in El Paso):
Oma's actually in the helicopter ride with me! I must've been about 2.5 years old here. 

Oma especially loved Western Playland's haunted house (I'm not sure they still have this ride now that Western Playland's in New Mexico). I didn't particularly like this ride because I got scared (though I never (!) admitted it to anyone). But I always went on it with Oma because she always laughed hysterically when we rode it. I always made sure I sat right next to Oma, as close to her as I could. I remember a part of this ride where a bus rounded the corner, headlights blazing, horn blaring loudly, like it was about to run us over. It always startled me, but like I said, it made Oma laugh uncontrollably.

There was another ride at Western Playland that I loved going on with Oma when I was very young - and later, I enjoyed going on it by myself. It was a car-driving one. You actually got to steer the car (which was on a metal rail) and it looked like you were driving through a town, past a Chevron gas station (yes, I specifically remember this part), among other things. It was like I was actually taking Oma for a drive. It was a lot of fun for a young kid.

I also remember my grandparents' neighbors on Blue Ridge Circle. They (the neighbors) grew grapes in their backyard, and every so often, they'd share a bunch or two with us. 

Once, I was out on a warm afternoon/early evening, the summer sun setting, casting long shadows in it's golden light. The neighbor (Jerry, I think) called me over and asked where my grandmother was. I stated she was in the kitchen. He then gave me a big ol' bunch of green grapes, asking me to ensure she got them so she could rinse them off before we enjoyed them.

I also remember how she and Sir Rafa would, on occasion, take me to the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheater to watch Viva! El Paso under the summer stars. This is an elaborate musical show with beautiful costumes, music, and dancing, all depicting the long history of El Paso.

One summer night, while my grandparents and I were watching the show, I looked up and saw a shooting star zip across the night sky. It was too cool. By the time I saw it, it had disappeared, so I didn't get a chance to say, "Hey, look at the shooting star." There must've been a meteor shower visible that evening, because a little later, someone near us saw another one. I spent the rest of the evening dividing my time between watching the amazing show, and looking up for more shooting star sightings. 

Another time (early '90s, maybe), I remember going to see a play with Oma at the Chamizal National Memorial - in its theater. The play was a comedy, and if I remember correctly, it was called Mi Amiga La Gorda (I think it was based on the English language play called My Fat Friend by Charles Laurence). The play was about an overweight woman, who, with the help of her friends, loses a lot of weight in hopes of keeping the attention of a potential suitor. 

Oma laughed SO hard during that play. I'm not sure she ever stopped laughing the entire time. I'm not sure what was funnier to me - the play, or her laughing. Probably a mixture of both. 

For days after seeing the play, I could get her to laugh when I imitated the silly walk of one of the characters. It was fun and so easy getting her to laugh about it.

Oh, another adventure we went on was to an El Paso Diablos baseball game one late afternoon (early '90s, maybe?). The Diablos play at Cohen Stadium, not too far from my grandparents' Mountain Walk Drive home. My Uncle Ralph went with us. 

 My Uncle Ralph is on the left, posing with my grandparents.

I remember having peanuts, and throwing empty peanut shells at our feet. Oma, always one to worry abut cleanliness and neatness, never said a word about the peanut shells littering the ground.

I also remember seeing the crowds at the other end of the stadium start the wave, at one point. I watched as the wave came around the stadium, getting closer to us. 

As the wave got closer, I pointed it out to Oma, and explained what they were doing. Then I told her that when the people next to her stood and threw their arms up in the air, that it would be our turn to do the same. And she actually did it along with me! It was hilarious and so much fun! I think that was the best part of that baseball game.

There was another time I remember being in her kitchen (must've been the mid-'90s) after dinner; this time I actually got her to do the Macarena! I showed her how it was done, and then she did it along with me! Funny!

There are so many other memories, but I think I'll save them for later since this post is now fairly long. 

 In the meantime, I'll end this post with a photo of an autumn tree in the late afternoon sun. I went out and took a photo of it after a phone conversation with my mother yesterday. She and I talked about Oma and how she (my mom) thinks we might only have days or weeks left with her. Of course, no one can possibly know how much time anyone has left. But I figured a photo of autumn leaves would be an appropriate way to symbolize Oma these days.

1 comment:

patriciamia said...

Sonya, what a beautiful post. I'll keep you and your family in my thoughts.

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