Thanks to everyone who sent along condolences for my grandma. I wanted to post the eulogy I gave at the funeral to show our gratitude for her life.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Ben, and I am Tiny’s oldest grandson. Despite being her oldest grandson, I sort of felt sometimes that she thought of me as her son. But maybe that’s just because she frequently called me Doug or Rusty.
It wasn’t really that surprising to me to see so many people yesterday at the funeral home celebrating my grandma’s life. She always seemed to know so many people wherever she went, whether it was at her home parish, Guardian Angels (at the bingo or fish fry or the over 50 club) to the University of Louisville in the Kersey Library (where she worked for more than 20 years) to her neighbors in all of the places where she lived. More often than not, my grandma was not only participating in the activities, but she was leading and organizing them. Occasionally that led to some interesting logistical discussions, including coming up with a way to speak louder on tour busses with a microphone and manager her condo association’s computer files. I wouldn’t call my grandma very tech-savvy, although she was good with slot machines and a hand-held Yahtzee game.
I think I can speak for all of my siblings and cousins when I say that regardless of her constantly sprawling social network, what we will remember most about her was the countless number of hours she spent with us. Both her and our grandpa attended events that must have numbered in the thousands.
They came to watch us play every sport imaginable, including basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, volleyball, swimming, wrestling, dance, and cheerleading. They attended almost every one of our grade school, high school and college graduations, which occurred in six different states. And they even took us to or came to a multitude of Louisville basketball and football games - and bowl games! OK, I guess it’s true that my grandpa wasn’t that crazy about the Louisville games since he was a UK fan. But fortunately all of us grandkids turned out to wear red.
It was clear that they did these things because, no matter if the day had been good or bad, they wanted to be with family. On many occasions we talked about random things about her life - growing up in Portland, riding the trolleys, working as a pin setter at the bowling alley and working concessions at Freedom Hall.
At other times, we ended up just playing cards, swimming in the condo pool, watching her favorite game shows, like the Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy (apparently Ken Jennings was her favorite), scratching off lottery tickets, looking at the schedule for a nearby bingo, celebrating holidays and birthdays or trying to figure out the secret ingredients in her world famous macaroni and cheese.
I wish I had more time to tell you about all of the activities we did while being with our grandparents, but I was told to keep this short and sweet. And actually I think that is appropriate because my grandma was one of the shortest and sweetest people I’ve known. And we will all miss her dearly.