Boasting is not always a bad observation, it can lead to significant thought. When I think of boasting, one person comes to mind immediately, my grandma. This may seem odd, but I have my reasons and in a few short paragraphs I will attempt to explain.
We never lived in the same town as my grandma, so I was only in her company for ten or twelve days my whole life, during family vacations mostly. It was during one such visit we were left for half a day or so at grandma’s house, while mom and dad went elsewhere. I must have been around eight-years-old and Adam, my brother, was six, also in our company was our cousin Mike, who was close to my age.
We stayed outside the entire day in the summer sun and all the games boys can come up with, we played. Grandma had one rule and it was simple, “Stay in the yard boys.” she would say. Almost like clockwork every thirty minutes or so grandma would come to the screen door to check on us. She wanted to get a visual of where we were and what we were up to. She was wise. I did not mind the routine surveillance; it was kind of nice seeing her at the door. It was this monitoring which caused me to come up with a new game. It is funny how kids can make a game out of just about anything and have great fun with little effort, just playing around.
The game was simple, to my shame, I proposed we hide from grandma. Her house had two doors one in the front and the other on the side. The next time grandma came to the side door we simply stepped around the corner to the front of the house out of sight. We laughed and giggled, we thought we were so smart, but it was fun. Soon, we heard the side door shut and then we stepped around to the side of the house, again out of sight. We would then laugh as grandma opened the front screen door to peer out into the yard to see her troubled grandson’s. This pattern went on and on for five or ten minutes and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
We were hiding in front of the house waiting for the side door to close and when it did, we snuck around the corner to the side. Suddenly, the side door began to open again, “What a strategy,” I thought to myself, “she had faked us out.” We hurriedly jumped around the corner of the house to the front and boy were we surprised to see grandma standing there in the door looking straight at us. She had enlisted the help of our aunt who lived with her, to catch us in our devious game. We laughed and she grinned and then said, “Boys, come on in the house.”
We reluctantly agreed, and one by one filed into the warden’s front door. Once inside, there was not much to do but watch TV, my grandma and aunt were already watching “The Walton’s”. They were always watching, “The Walton’s” or “Little House on the Prairie” always. The cable in her house was stuck in a TV marathon from the 1970’s and nothing an eight-year-old boy would be interested in was on the playlist.
We settled down onto the floor of the living room with our Match Box and Hot Wheels cars and we were content. We had only played for a few minutes before the sky grew dark, the street lights came on, and an afternoon thunderstorm began to roar outside, I guess grandma was right to bring us inside. The wind became strong and gusty, the down pour of rain made it difficult to see the street. An occasional bolt of lightning and crack of thunder made the storm exciting, but the cable never went out, we were not that lucky.
It was during the storm, while playing on the rug in front of the couch, that I began to look around the living room. The decorating was normal, kind of like my mom’s style. Grandma’s house was comfortable, warm, and inviting but on this day, I noticed a difference between her house and mine, it was the pictures. Grandma had pictures everywhere, they were on the end-tables, shelves, on the TV above “The Walton’s”, and on every wall in the house. I got up to peruse the gallery’s collection and there were pictures on every living room wall, down the hallway, in the kitchen and bedrooms, even the bathroom had pictures.
The pictures were of family mostly, black & white and color pictures of babies, toddlers, kids my age and older, and teenagers’. There were pictures of weddings, birthdays and Christmas’ gone by and there were old people a lot of old people on the walls. The pictures of the older people though were the most interesting at which to look. Grandma noticed my interest in the pictures, and she came over and began to point out and name the people. Kid’s, grandkid’s, great-grandkid’s, cousin’s, sister’s, brother’s, moms and dads all had their own special place on the wall. Many lives, years and stories were recorded in the numerous pictures in her gallery, and while the storm raged outside, my grandma and aunt led me through the house telling me of people I would never meet. The way grandma told me of the people was one of the most interesting points I remember. She told of her family and friends with kindness, love, respect, and care. She honored every single person whether they were deserving or not. Her voice made the pictures come alive and have real meaning and purpose.
Every couple of years my family would come in to visit grandma while on vacation. The only changes at her house were usually her age, health, and new pictures added to the walls. My grandma never had a lot in terms of money or possession’s. She was not well known or followed in her town and never celebrated by anyone other than friends or family. To look at her in those little old lady dresses with rolled up socks, she was simple and unassuming. Grandma could not boast of much which this world might deem valuable today, but she did not have to, her walls did the boasting for her.
“Love does not boast…” 1st Cor. 13:4