Grandma Slotsve

This week I said goodbye for the last time to my Grandmother in Canada.  The trip (3 days by car) up to her house was the highlight of summer for my brother and I as kids.  All the Aunts, Uncles, and cousins would converge on her house during the week that we were there.  How she fed the army of people and remembered to make everyone’s favorite foods, I still haven’t figured out.  Even when Lutefisk was on the menu, she made sure that there was plenty else to eat for the grandchildren who hadn’t acquired the taste for this traditional Norwegian dish.

Alice ‘Jean’ Slotsve – Grandma extraordinaire.

As people were coming by to pay their final respects, a neighbor made the comment that she felt like it was a privilege to have known Jean Slotsve and that we were very fortunate to have come from such good stock.  Some people are just like that – after you get to know them you feel privileged and enriched by the experience.  Grandma Slotsve was such a lady.

As a 9 year old girl during the Great Depression, she was sent away to live with other families where she helped look after their smaller children and performed household chores.  It must have been during these difficult years that she developed and honed the ability to be attentive and look after the needs of others so well.  Today, I marvel at how she made feeding so many people during our family reunion look almost effortless.  No matter how mind boggling the logistics of it all must have been, she stayed cool under pressure and never let us see her sweat.

Whether it was eggs and toast with creamed honey for breakfast or roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for supper, she has a way of making each meal special.  Between meals there were special treats that she prepared especially for this occasion.  We were never hungry at Grandma’s house because every time we turned around we were spoiled with wonderful meals or treats.

Grandparents are very special people and I’m very grateful for all the wonderful memories with mine.  Her legacy of love and service inspires me to build on those qualities in my own life.  At the end of the day, what we really leave behind is our impact on others.

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