7.20.2013

Remembering Dora Lee




A week ago today, we lost my grandmother, Dora Lee Bowden Snyder. Grandpa passed away a few years ago, but to have them both gone is a new kind of emotion that feels harder than just one. Of course my mind has been flooded in regret of the conversations I wish we had had, or the relationship we could have formed. But it's also filled with happy memories of visiting Cedar City as a child, getting push pops from the back shed, watching grandpa play the mountain dulcimer and showing me a steel guitar, watching grandma crochet and having every chair be covered with her handiwork, family reunions at Fish Lake, playing go fish, and remembering BYUtv always being on mute in the background.

I remember one day when we were visiting Cedar. Emily and I were talking about how we wanted to get back home in time to go to the Strawberry Days rodeo. I was asking for suggestions on what I ought to wear so I could fit in with the country folk. Grandpa said I really ought to own a pair of cowboy boots as he proceeded to show us his extensive boot collection (he wore them everyday). We oohed and ahhed over all the intricacies and variations in color, until Grandma said,"Ok girls, take them home with you."
Grandpa was shocked, and said,"No, these girls aren't taking my boots with them."
But Grandma insisted that we each take a pair for the rodeo, even though they were much too big for our feet. We took the boots but we couldn't walk in them so unfortunately couldn't wear them to the rodeo. When I moved to Texas, one of the first things I did was buy my very own genuine leather cowboy boots. I wanted them to be legitimate, so I went to the western store by myself during a lunch break. There were hundreds of different styles to choose from, but when I saw the pair that were most similar to grandpa's, I knew they were the right pair for me. I wore them out of the store and I thought both grandma and grandpa would have been proud. I think of them every time I wear them out.

Since I heard the news about grandma, I've been feeling very reflective, thinking about what parts of my personality came from my dad's parents and I narrowed it down to a few.

Collections
They loved collecting. Perhaps a little too much at times. Their house was like a museum and you never knew what little collections you might find. Whether it was guitars, books, clocks, arrowheads, petrified wood, jewelery, you name it. And now I love to collect postcards, pins, and pens from my travels.



Western Wear
I already mentioned the cowboy boots, but I also love plaid. I have quite a few plaid shirts and I know Melissa and Jesse and love their plaid shirts too.


Fire
I'm not exactly sure what it's called, but they had some sort of wood-burning stove in the living room. Whenever we would visit in the winter, we would leave smelling like we had just been camping. I love wood fires now, especially the smell.

Breakfast Foods
My family doesn't typically make big breakfasts when we're together. We like our whole grain cereal and skim milk just fine. But when we were with grandma and grandpa, breakfast was a big deal. We had the most perfectly fried hash browns, hot cakes, and eggs. Sometimes sausage and bacon too. After all the roommates I've had, I have still never met anyone who makes hot cakes as good as Grandpa's or who can fry an egg as well as my dad.





Folk & Country Music
The other day I was talking to a co-worker about music genres. We were answering the question, "If you had only one genre to choose to listen to the rest of your life, what would it be?" My immediate answer was folk. I love it. I love acoustic guitars, banjos, mandolins, steel guitars, and fiddles. My grandpa MADE dulcimers by hand in his little shop in the backyard. I could tell that him and grandma were proud when my parents signed me up for fiddle lessons.


Craft Handiwork
I've been embroidering my whole life. My mom loves it and she got me to catch the bug too, but on Christmas mornings our presents from grandma usually included something delicately embroidered. I remember one year she gave Jesse this beautiful blue, red, and white quilt that had embroidered state birds for every state in the nation. Melissa and I both got pillowcases embroidered with lace and dainty little peacocks. I so loved all the detail work and I know that she did too.

Ice Cream
The Snyder's take ice cream very seriously. I even wrote an 8-page paper in college about the importance of ice cream in the Snyder family history. So I think it's pretty amazing that my favorite ice cream brand is the Texas-made Bluebell and Grandma was born in Bluebell, Utah.
Coincidence? I think not.

Crying
Grandma sure was a crier. Most of the time I would leave her house and give her a hug goodbye, she would shed a little tear. As much as I wouldn't like to admit that I am a crier, I just counted 3 times I have cried just today. But in my defense, the last episode of Gilmore Girls always gets me and I watched the sweet movie, Polly, today.



Grandma also loved clocks! In fact, the last time I was in her living room, I believed I counted 28 clocks in the room. Some of them would ding, others would cuckoo, and she loved to rearrange them and add more to her collection. Adversely, I have always had a tough time with clocks. I remember the day that we learned how to tell time in 2nd grade. I was very confused by the whole concept, so I clearly remember turning and talking to a friend instead and thinking, "I'll just learn this some other time when I am older." Well I'm 25 and I still don't get it. Rather than face my fears, I just buy digital clocks. I don't own a watch and even when there is a clock around, I double check with my phone in case I read the clock wrong.

So this weekend I bought a clock. A real one, with 2 hands and numbers and all that stuff. I figure that now is a good time to start paying attention to the time that is passing by. Maybe grandma already understood the lessons I am just learning. Clocks not only tell us the time, but they tell us how much time is passing. You don't quite get that constant movement with a digital clock, it's just a new number on the screen. But a clock shows you each moment passing by and I hope that I can remember that and the clock can be more of a reminder from her to focus on my priorities and to not let my time on earth be wasted.

I'm so glad to be part of our Snyder family.

Grandma's obituary
Grandpa's obituary

2 comments:

melimba said...

This was a great post. I loved every word. Thanks for writing it. Amen to it all.

emily snyder said...

wow. you truly amaze me. i am crying again reading this. why are you so good at collecting your thoughts like this?? thank you. thank you for your vision and perspective.