desert sunrise

desert sunrise
desert sunrise

Friday, December 25, 2015

My Christmas Grandma Loved Me Best

My Grandma, Ethel Powell-Tucker, was born shortly after midnight outside a small Nebraska sandhills town named Long Pine, on Christmas Day, 1904.  On that clear cold winter’s night, Great Grandpa saddled up his trusty bay Blitz for a trip to town to fetch the doc and drag him out of a warm, cozy home where he was celebrating Christmas with his family.

Grandma was a writer.

She was a poet

She was an extraordinary storyteller.

She loved chocolate.

She was kind.

She saw God in everything, yet I never saw her step foot in a church.

She was humble.

She never complained

 She lived simply, without the luxury of indoor plumbing well into the 1970’s.

She could make you feel like the most important, loved person on the face of the Earth and then go out to the chicken coop, grab a hen by her neck, and in the blink of an eye, wring its head off with a flick of her wrist. 

She’d fry that hen up for dinner and we’d eat like Kings and Queens.

I (and my happy tummy) could have stayed at that kitchen table forever listening to stories and laughing with My Christmas Grandma who loved me best. 

The chicken coop was ridiculously far from the house and when I was just a wee bit of a girl I remember seeing Grandma walk the long path to feed and water the chickens, balancing heavy buckets of feed and water in each hand, each morning and again at night. 

It looked like really hard work. 

She never complained, but I could.

I sought out Grandpa one day and I clearly remember telling him, “You just need to move the chicken coop closer so Grandma doesn’t have to work so hard!”

Grandpa was a quiet man when I was around but I knew he was to be respected and “telling” him what to do wasn’t acceptable behavior, but I threw caution to the wind!  Someone had to be Grandma’s voice and I rose to the occasion.

Weeks went by, perhaps months. 

One day I stepped out of the car at Grandma’s house and lo and behold…..the chicken coop was up by the house!!!!  Again I clearly remember saying, “LOOK Grandpa moved the chicken coop!!  He knowed I meaned it!!” 

It was a sweet victory that was never forgotten. 

As the years slipped by her memories would often shift and drift in and out of her consciousness, much like the sandhills dunes she played hide and seek in as a child, until the present moment was all that existed for her. 

She aged as gracefully as she had lived.

On December 23, 1996, at the age of 92, Grandma went to sleep in her bed and woke up in Heaven.

BUT, up until her last breath she would often ask my Mom, “Remember that little girl who told Ervin to move the chicken coop?  What was her name?” 

And that’s the Forever Christmas Gift she left me.  The “knowing” that the simplest act, even of a child, can change someone’s world for the better, forever.

Even if it’s only one chicken coop at a time.

Happy Birthday Grandma.

May the Spirit of the Forever Christmas Gift find you all and bring you an eternity of happy memories and peace.  


  1. Oh, such memories to share! So beautifully written. Merry Christmas, indeed! ♡♡

  2. Hope you're having a very Merry Christmas!