Sunday, February 9, 2014

Remembering Grammy Jo

My Grandma Jo
I look good, don't I? Ha. Kidding
The house.

It happens. Everyday. People everywhere lose people from their life that they love and care for. Can’t help it. Can’t do anything about it, and it sucks. What we can do though, is remember how that person changed your life and all the great things they did. The reason for this blog post is to remember my Grandma Jo Navinskey that passed away about a year ago, February 13th to be exact, from a short battle with cancer. This story is a long time coming, but it’s not the easiest thing for me to talk about.

When grandma was younger. She is on the far right.
Two sisters, Ruth and Evelyn. Otto and Agatha Schrick are their parents.

She was a tom-boy. With one of her horses.
West of the house where my parents live now.

I guess we’ll start at the beginning. Grandma Jo was born May 28, 1934. She grew up in the house my parents currently live in. She has two sisters, Ruth and Evelyn, but was the tom-boy of the group; always helping my great-grandpa on the farm. Her and my Grandpa Ed were married July 7, 1951. They farmed with my great-grandpa and eventually went out on their own. They had a dairy, beef cows, farm-ground and 8 kids! Ya. I know. 8 of them. And their kids actually worked and earned their keep around the house and farm, as opposed to most kids these days. If any of you know my grandpa Ed, he doesn’t take any mouth, talk back and laziness from people. You do what you’re told, now. Ha. And my grandma was there to back him up. She had to cook, clean, milk cows, drive a school bus and live in a house that was much smaller than people are used to now. With 8 kids! 

Let's just fast-forward a little to when I was little. My dad, Scott, is one of those 8 kids. He has farmed with my grandpa since he was old enough to walk. Once he grew up and got married, he and my mom have always lived close, meaning my grandma was always around when I was little. She also drove the school bus I rode on until I was in 5th grade. Everyday I would ride home with her, get a snack out of the corner cabinet, and hang out until my dad would come pick me up. In the spring and fall, I would ride with her to help dad and grandpa farm.

"What!? I'm busy"

Feeding a table full of kids

My dad is the one in the high chair.

 Sometime in the 70's

Mid 90's

She drove the bus for 31 years

My Baptism. 4 Generations

All 8 kids. This was taken in 1996

Someone's birthday.

 I’m really not sure where I want to go from here-I have a lot to say so I’m just gonna start typing.

My grandma was one of the nicest people I ever knew. She was always there to help, no matter who was in need. She had 8 kids, 21 grandkids, a handful of great-grandkids along with several nieces and nephews. And she would send a birthday card to every one of them. She always had a cupboard full of cookies, oatmeal creams, cheez its and all kinds of other good snacks. And Pepsi in the fridge. Whenever we were working close to their house, and it wasn’t planting or harvest, she would make dinner for us. Mainly just grandpa, dad and I. She was a fantastic cook. She had to be, my grandpa is very hard to please. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but if he doesn’t like something, he is gonna just come out and tell ya. This is gonna be hard, but these are a couple of my favorite things of hers to eat. New potatoes with fresh green beans in a white cream sauce. White gravy from scratch. (I could just eat it with a spoon, or on bread) Meatloaf. Pan-fried chicken. Cole slaw. Fried Potatoes with onions. Anything cooked in her cast iron skillet. Ok, give me a minute. This is making me hungry, I gotta go get something to eat……..  

In the spring and fall when we were in the field, she would always bring us a sack lunch. Mine was always the same. Turkey sandwich with mayo, mustard and lettuce, doritos or sun chips, cookies and an apple. That was when we were in Kansas. When we were in Missouri farming, she would stop in town and bring us over a Subway sandwich. She had written on a piece of paper what everyone wanted. Believe it or not, this last spring, I didn’t eat lunch once when I was planting. I just couldn’t do it. I would be hungry, think of my grandma on the radio, asking me where I was and if I needed a water jug, and I would just lose my appetite. It's gonna take some getting used to. Guess I’ll have to start packing my own lunch.

Ok, this is the part of the story where I’m gonna be selfish for a little bit. Like I said before, my dad has always lived close and I grew up with my grandma. Once I got back from school and started farming full time, I would pretty much see her everyday. Even when I was in school, I would see here several times a week. I was very lucky to have the time that I did, because a lot of my other cousins that live out of state could just visit on holidays and a few other times here and there. So, I was spoiled in that aspect of it. (even though sometimes I didn't realize it) Me and my three younger sisters got to spend a lot of time with her, more than others, just because we lived so close.

One thing I left out of my favorite foods- apple pie. She made the best apple pie I have ever eaten. She would always make me one for my birthday.....and any other time I would ask. I would go into the house, she would be baking two apple pies, and sugar pie. Sugar pie used all the scrap dough and it was amazing too. I would say “Smells good!” She would reply, “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think they will be very good. I can never make them the same” And let me tell you right now, they were EXACTLY the same, EVERY time. That’s just how she was, she never gave herself enough credit for things she did.

Another thing she did was help us move around when were farming. She would come pick us up at the ‘Haase 80’, or take us to get a semi on ‘Deckers,’ or bring the service truck down to ‘Reynolds’. Every field of ours has a name, and she knew them all. She would be at the house and we would call on the 2-way or the phone, and she would be right there when we needed her. Sometimes not soon enough, and sometimes we (grandpa, dad and I) would be kinda short with her. That’s one thing I wish I could take back, was the times I was grumpy, snapped back, was not in a good mood or just didn't want to talk. Cause she ALWAYS wanted to chat, about anything. Ha. I know she understood we didn’t mean it, and that it was a busy time and we were in a hurry. She didn’t let it affect her, she would just smile and go on with her day. She knew it was just how we were and sometimes we get a little heated and stressed out at certain busy times of the year. I feel very lucky that I got to spend as much time as I did with Grandma. I’m not the oldest grandchild, but I feel like I was around her just as much or more than any of them. I’m not trying to brag, or put myself above the others, but this has been pretty damn hard on me, just because I’ve been around her since I was old enough to remember, she was always there. I saw her and my grandpa as much as my mom and dad.

I don’t like to show or express my feelings, but this has probably been the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with. Everyday, sometimes several times a day, I would walk in the house. She would be one of two places. Sitting at the table by the radio, watching TV or reading. If not sitting at the table, she would be standing by the stove cooking/cleaning. I’ll never get to walk in and see that again. Also I’ll never get to hear her on the 2-way radio again. I’d say ‘Base, you in there?” She would reply “Go ahead.” I know that doesn’t sound like much at all, but to me those are two words I wish I could hear one more time. We always use our 2-ways farming, and she was always in the middle of it.

She would always get ahold of me when rain was coming, to ask if I had windows in my house open in the summer. Since 2009, I live just 2 miles from her and my grandpa, so she would just run over and shut my windows for me. And more often than not, she would bring me an apple pie over. While she was here, she might even do a sink full of dishes, or wash a window, or pick up some sticks in the yard. Ha. She loved for stuff to be clean, and loved to pick up sticks and mow her yard and tend flowers. She could/would pick up sticks for hours. Another thing she had a love for was her grandkids school and sporting events. She was always there, wether it was a band concert, drama play, or one of many sports. Always there, wearing her JCN Charger shirt (in my and my sisters case), cheering us on. Oh, and KU Basketball. Her, I and some cousins shared a love for KU Basketball. 

Me and the sisters in 2005. Grandma standing next to me.
I rebuilt a tractor that was owned by their dad. (my great-grandfather)
I was showing my scrap book of pictures to them.

Sisters. Grandma in middle

I’m not gonna try to wrap this up in a real smooth way, as I usually do. I’m just gonna say I miss my grandma. I’m reminded of her everyday, whether we are working on the farm, or going to a ball game, or if I just go walk in the house. I’ve always known her to be there and now she’s not. I know that she misses each and every one of us, just as we miss her.

Glad we got to celebrate this. July of 2011.

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