[Mommy's Thoughts]Received 05/06/2005 03:36

Remembering 'Big Granny'

This past week has been a sad one. It was a week ago today that I lost my grandma. Ricky, Hannah, and I traveled to NW OK, Woodward to be exact, on Friday, April 29. It was an usually cold April day. Lucky for Hannah I threw in a few long clothes!

We met at the Northwest Inn with the rest of the Balk family. On Friday evening we had a vigil service and a mass of Christian burial on Saturday. It was great to see everyone. Amazingly enough all of the grandkids (except Nate who is currently in Iraq) were able to make it along with their families. That in its self is amazing since Granny had about 50 grandkids/great-grandkids. Quite a legacy this lady left behind!

I wanted to share my memories on the blog so that one day little Hannah could see what a wonderful "Big Granny" she had. I am glad that Hannah got to spend some time with her. She first met her at Christmas in Stroud. Granny traveled to Guthrie with us for our old-fashioned celebration. Big Granny even got to help celebrate Hannah's baptism. Hannah and I's last visit with Granny was over Spring Break. We traveled up to Enid to see her new apartment. She was so proud to "show" us off to all of her friends. Hannah had so much fun playing with "Big Granny". She just gave her smile after smile.

I have so many fond memories of Granny that it is hard to just pick a few. I remembering spending summer vacations with her. It was so much fun for a "country" girl to be able to walk around town: to the pool, the library, etc... Of course, she had the best swingset on the block: the Mooreland elementary school!

At Christmas there was always fun to be had. The pinata was the best part. We couldn't wait for someone to break open that thing! When they did, chaos broke out! Everyone dove to the floor trying to grab the most candy. Santa always seemed to come by just at the right time and we always had a birthday cake for baby Jesus. Ah...and all of those wonderful cookies! You couldn't just eat one. You had to taste every single kind.

I remember the Christmas that Granny had wrapped Chris's "present". When he opened it up, it was an empty box! She had forgotten to put his present in! He was so upset... but years later we (even Chris!) can laugh about it!

Two Christmases ago Granny decided to bake everyone a dozen of her best assortment of cookies. My favorite were of course chocolate chip, but also those wonderful German Chocolate ones and the famous "Dishpan" cookies! Anyway, when we all had opened our yummy cookies, Ricky asked her, "How long did it take you to bake all of those cookies?" Granny thought for a second and looked up and said, "Well, I started baking around OCTOBER!!!"

Granny never missed her weekly hair appointment. She did whatever it took to make sure she got there on time. One time she jumped on the back of Chad's 4 wheeler and off to the beauty shop she went!

One of my most treasure memories happened five years ago this summer. Mom, Dad, and I took Granny back to Big Piney, WY. You see she used to live up there when Mom was a little girl and hadn't been back in years. We had such a good time driving up. We chatted all the way up and ate yummy chocolate covered raisins. Once in Big Piney we made the rounds and Granny showed us everything. Which in Big Piney didn't take long mind you!

We decided to take a day trip up to Yellowstone. Granny was excited to go. Her first trip there was back in 1929!!! The whole way up to Jackson Hole, she kept telling us about this beautiful lake, "Jenny Lake". We searched high and low and never found it. We thought Granny had just forgotten or imagined the lake!

On the way home we took a different highway home and sure enough what did we find, "Jenny Lake". It seems that they had built a new highway to take to Jackson and Jenny Lake was on the old route! And she was right... It was absolutely breath taking with the Tetons in the background.

Granny will truly be missed by us all...But her legacy lives on and continues to grow. Little Baby Boy Miller will be arriving in August pushing the number of greats to 24! And I am sure it won't be the last.

We love you, Granny!