by Colleen Cheatham Hawkins
My Grandma Cox was the grandma who always took us places. She would often take us on a long trip during the summer break from school. I don’t think she ever took a trip without inviting a grandchild along. One memorable trip was the time we stopped at all the historical sites along the way. I don’t even remember the actual destination but we would stop and read the markers all across the western part of Wyoming – we must have been going to Utah for something. But now as a parent I realize how hard that would have been because I am always in such a hurry to get somewhere, not lengthen out the trip with numerous stops. It really increased my knowledge of the history of Wyoming and the geology of the land. My favorite stop was South Pass City. I had always asked my parents if we could stop but they never had the time. So when Grandma and Gramps took the dirt turnoff I was delighted. It was as interesting as I anticipated.
I remember the time my family was living in the mountains when my dad irrigated elk pasture up in Sunlight. Grandma came up to visit us and not just to sit in the cabin and chat with my mom. She went to the river with us and icy cold as it was she took off her shoes and pulled up her pant legs and waded along with us until we were all numb with cold. Then later as we sat in a meadow having a picnic she plucked up a large yellow dandelion flower. She reflected a bit on the fact that pioneers used to make jelly out of the dandelion flower. We all commented and wondered on the flavor and before we knew it she took a big bite out of the flower! That sent many of us into fits of giggles at the sight of her munching on flowers but her comment was just that it didn’t have much flavor. Grandma was always full of fun and surprises.
My favorite ghost story came from Grandma and her telling of an incident in her childhood. She said that she had been off away from home and had gotten started late on walking back. Soon it was very dark and a bit spooky. As she walked along she suddenly saw two white ghosts floating in the air. She was so frightened she wanted to run quickly home. But she stopped herself and said, “Lucy, you know there are no such things as ghosts.” So she mustered up her courage and headed straight for the two “ghosts” sort of drifting there. Heavy footfalls almost made her lose her resolve. When she was almost to the “ghosts” Lucy was relieved to hear a soft moo coming from the black cow with the two white spots grazing there in the grass. I think Grandma always faced her fears head on!
One Neves Family Reunion as a young girl I had quietly joined a group of adults sitting in a camper trailer so I could listen to their talk. They were reminiscing about the past and at one point Owen or Eldon (I can’t remember which) asked Lucy a question that probably had been bothering him for some time. He asked if she remembered a tablecloth he had given her many years before and wanted to know why she didn’t like it. Lucy was astonished! She assured him that it was so beautiful and very special to her and that she kept it safely in a drawer. He told her that he had thought she didn’t like it because he had never seen her use it.
Grandma warning us to “Brace yourself” when we went on yet another Cox Road.
Grandma inviting us to taste some new concoction she had created – no limit for her on recipes to try or new fangled gadgets to create foods.
I asked her once why her water for washing dishes was so hot and she told me that when she was a girl her sisters would be helping with the dishes and complain to her that she wasn’t getting them clean. She had told them, “Oh, just wipe them clean!” Horrified by her unsanitary behavior as a girl she now tried to make sure germs had no chance of surviving her hot dishwater.
Of course everyone remembers her relentless crocheting and how fast she would go without even looking and our horror when she started pulling it all out because of a mistake rows and rows back.
I loved her soft chuckle as nearly everything about the world amused her.