This was printed in the Orlando Sentinel on July 23, 2016.
My mother in law lives with us.
Margaret Hall. That's her given name, she goes by Peggy.
My kids know her just as Grandma. She has made a big difference in our lives and in a good way.
First of all, Peggy cooks, and our fridge is full of leftovers in Tupperware containers. Can you say, "Ain't the beer cold?" I think you can. What does she cook? All kinds of things...yummy meat loaf, tasty baked ziti, chili to die for, scrumptious potatoes, and she is a whiz with the Crock-pot. Breakfast is now omelets, bacon, and toast. She loves tomatoes, so now they're in salads as well as in the omelets.
Our house went from smelling like dog to smelling like heaven.
And she bakes, too.
Cakes, pies, brownies. She once made a "mistake" with a chocolate-pudding pie that we thought was dee-lish. We've been calling for that mistake ever since.
Here's an even better thing.
My kids used to eat dinner on our long kitchen counter while watching "Sponge Bob" or "Kipper the Dog." Dinner was a kind of mishmash with people eating at different times. We now have dinner, together, at the dining room table. That may sound like it's nothing but that wouldn't be true.
When my kids talk to their kids about this time, it'll be gold. Guess who loves it the most? Me. Peggy and I have great conversations after the meal and I do mean great. We talk about everything which reminds me of my grandmother, Nana.
Hazel Francis, my mother's mother.
She lived in New York, but when I got older, still a young man, she came to Maryland to live with us. As a gift and a taste of home, I got her a subscription to the New York paper, The Daily News. One day I asked her if she read them. "Every one. You know why?" she asked. "Because, I like to talk and to do that you have to know what you're talking about."
I've never forgotten that.
Well, Peggy likes to talk, I do too, and really knows what she's talking about.
I'll tell you another thing.
Every Sunday, off we go to church. The boys have been, Denise has been too, but it's usually just me and Peggy. What began as just driving her to church has turned into this wonderful thing. We see people that have become friends, the minister's sermons are great, and Peggy knows all the hymns and sings along.
Those are just a few of the good things that Peggy brought to us.
Did I mention she's 87?
We should all be so cool at 87.
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