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Meatballs and Flax Seed: Nothing is Too Small for the Life-Long Learner

My Grandmother held steadfast to being a life long learner until the day she died at the age of 95. She started to put flax seed on her morning oatmeal because she learned it was good for her health in her late 80’s. But, she but had to drive to the not-so conveniently located health food store for her special ingredient.

On one occasion when I visited her we had a mission, she was to teach me how to make meatballs! So I took my 90-something year old Grandmother to the grocery store to buy the ingredients. I pushed the cart and she held my arm as we walked down the isles. Somehow we ventured down the cereal aisle, and ten paces in, staring back at us was ground flax seed. I pointed it out to Grandmom, triumphant that she wouldn’t have to make that terrible drive to the health food store anymore.

Grandmom was so excited about our discovery that she joyfully announced, “I learned something new today!” as we walked back to the car. It was a great day, I learned something new too, how to make Grandmom’s meatballs.

When Grandmom was in the hospital, right before she passed, my aunt and her would have long conversations about cooking. They both shared a passion for creating delicious meals and would exchange new recipes and tricks they learned in the kitchen. These exchanges continued, and my Grandmother eagerly talked about trying new recipes in her final days of life. Even though she also knew she was dying, Grandmom couldn’t stop her eagerness and willingness to learn something new!

Upon reflection, I realized that Grandmom lived a life full of humble magnificence! She found joy in the simplest of tasks, especially whenever she learned how to do it better. And, Grandmom was quite accomplished as well. A child of the great depression, she completed high school and received valedictorian. She raised four children, ran a farm and worked as a successful bookeeper!

There was never a subject too small for Grandmom to learn something new and useful about. I enjoyed keeping her company because she listened to learn and when she spoke they were often words of wisdom.

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