Monday, January 29, 2007
A Eulogy From Five Years Ago Today.
Nesta Foxx was one of my best friends. I also had the priviledge of calling her gramma.
Gramma might be best recalled as being a generous, loving host and entertainer. She designed and decorated beautiful spaces and menus. She was a woman of grace, composure and thoughtfulness. She could
paint, sew and garden. She practiced many skills lost to recent generations. She was also more than these talents.
She was one of my idols. She was my confidant and my mentor. She will remain one of the greatest thinkers I have ever met. I could talk to her about anything from politics to sex to religion to love to what wine to cook what meat in.
She had a mind that understood and felt deep emotions yet was pragmatic. She was common sense.
I was a troubled teenager. I suffered tramatic shock disorder and my grandparents were my moral rock and support. I could and would always go to my grandmother for advice when I felt lost and alone, which was the defining aspect of my youth. Even if my grandmother and I had our differences of opinion about various topics we could always talk it out because of her outstanding character and her love. It was through no credit of my own in those days, I am sad to admit. She helped me to learn how to live and be a better person. Both Gramma and Grampa helped teach me how to be happy.
My grandparents were a team. They taught me to believe that family and friends were the best team. They believed in doing the right thing and having fun while doing it. They loved people and loved laughing and visiting. They loved exploring the human condition, from my grandfathers avid reading of military and spy stories to my grandmothers enthusiasm for movies, musicals and baseball players(she thought they were sexy!) and travel. They followed world events with the eyes of people who had particpated and lived through some of historys worst times. Heroically, without being cynical. I believe their attiudes and experience with lifes dark side enabled them to help me learn to be happy. I owe them for that.
They loved music. Grandpa loved Swing and Dixieland and Jazz. Grandma loved Elvis and Wayne Newton and Perry Como and Englebert Humperdink. She went to some of their concerts! I have many happy memories of laying on the living room floor while they spun records.
I admired them.
And they could make me laugh. Fall down funny, both of them.
I remember once, years ago, I decided to wear only cotton or natural fabrics. I told my grandmother this newfangled plan of mine with revolutionary glee. Like an outlaw. She looked at me and said
“Natural? What do you mean natural? Where do you think this came from- Mars?” She pointed to one of her trademark exotic outfits. I laughed so hard. Of course she was correct. Everything made by humans was part of nature!
A typical visit between snacks would include my gramma whispering,”Don’t tell your grandfather” as she slipped me a fifty
dollar bill. An hour later, my grandpa whispering “Don’t tell your grandmother” as he slipped me a fifty dollar bill. I never
understood this ritual, but they were funny characters and many of their mysterious ways were my delight.
I wish I was half the person either of them were.
Together:they were a party!
My sister and I share a foundation of love from our grandparents. We are passing it on to our children.
I never introduced a friend of mine to my grandmother that didn’t adore her. The very rare time I met someone who didn’t enjoy her company was really a reflection on their lack of character. So anyone who was a friend of grandma I hold very dear to my heart and respect from afar. Thank you for coming today and I hope you have a cup of coffee or a beer and a sandwich and a visit. It is what my grandmother would want.
Grampa and Granma's friend T said to me two weeks ago, “She
always wanted to go out with a party”. How true.