SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Lucille Arnold Miller “Gramma Cuz” Cousin

Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014

* My grandma died Sunday night. Grandma had been in a nursing home for several years after it became clear that she wasn’t safe living alone, even with family in the same small town and regular visits from a nurse.

I thought I had prepared myself. She was 93 and had been in hospice for over a year. But something has stuck with me from the phone call I got soon after Grandma died.

Grandma’s breathing was labored for a while, then she took a deep, final breath and tears rolled down her cheeks as she passed away.

* Grandma was a huge music fan and told me once that she saw Glenn Miller and his big band. I was blown away by that. I was just starting to get into that man’s awesome sounds (go watch “Orchestra Wives” and you’ll get a real sense for how the kids went crazy for Miller’s music), and Grandma told me how wild and loud the show was and how everybody was dancing their hearts out.

Grandma drove to Nashville numerous times to soak up performances at the Grand Ole Opry She saw everybody, everywhere. I’m convinced that she attended triple the concerts that I’ve ever seen. Grandma’s brother was a guitar player in a country/bluegrass band in Kankakee back in the day, and I’m pretty sure I get my love for music from her.

She loved to dance. And she could cut a rug with the best of them until well into her 80s. The woman stomped on the terra every day of her life.

* Grandma was constantly on the go and traveled all over the place. She came to my high school graduation in Germany. She visited us when we lived in Utah. She went out to California I don’t know how many times. And if she didn’t have a destination, she’d make one by driving around until she found something to do. Maybe a garage sale. Maybe an old friend.

Grandma traveled regularly to her original home near London, Kentucky to see family and friends. They lived in the hills, and Grandma rode a horse to school when she was growing up. She used to tell stories about wearing a buffalo skin blanket in the back of the family car.

She was an unbelievably good cook. I used to go to her house sometimes just so I could beg her to make me some liver and onions - something nobody else could do as well as her. The first time I ever ate rabbit was when grandma cooked it for me. She’d bought it from a co-worker at the General Foods factory in Kankakee.

Grandma worked hard at that factory, which made dog food. She worked hard her entire life, from Kentucky to Kankakee. But I never heard her complain and she made great friends at that factory. We’d always run into them when we went out on the town together. She was one of those special people who seemed to know everybody and everybody loved her. It was like hanging out with a working class celebrity, I kid you not. She had a real presence that everyone around her could feel. People were naturally attracted to her.

* Grandma loved to go out to the taverns with her friends. She wasn’t against going to the riverboats on occasion, either. She didn’t live in a big house, quite the opposite. She wasn’t into conspicuous consumption, except for making sure she always got her hair done just so.

Instead, she wanted to have fun. And, man, did she ever have fun. I once laughed so hard at one of her stories that I dropped my beer can on her floor, which made her laugh. She didn’t drop her beer, though.

* Grandma treated her 22 grandchildren like they were all her favorites. I was the oldest male grandchild, so maybe I got extra special treatment every once in a while. At least, I felt so.

I’m told I’m the one who came up with the “Gramma Cuz” nickname for her. All her grandkids and great grandkids called her that. She was married briefly after divorcing my grandfather and kept her second husband’s name Cousin for reasons I never really asked about. Some things, you just don’t discuss with a lady.

Grandma taught me how to crochet once. I was spending a Christmas break from college with her and we couldn’t go anywhere because the weather was bad. Some of my friends made fun of me when I told them what I did over break, but, truthfully, it wasn’t about the crocheting. It was about spending time listening to my grandmother tell her stories and feeling as close to her as I’ve ever felt to anybody in my life.

* I think I told you already that Gramma Cuz met John F. Kennedy. I believe it was 1959, and my grandfather was a Teamsters guy. He took Grandma to a union event in Chicago and Kennedy put his arm around Grandma, kissed her on the cheek and told my grandfather that he had a beautiful wife. To the day she died, nobody could ever say a bad word about JFK in front of Grandma. Ever.

* Years ago, we were in her kitchen in West Kankakee and we talked for the first and only time about growing old. Grandma got really angry as she explained how she absolutely hated the idea of slowing down with age. She wanted to grab hold of life by the throat each and every day and and have fun, damnit. No slowing down for her. That just wasn’t her way. Aging was an enemy, something to be fought.

Watching her slowly fade away, first at her house and then in the nursing home, broke my heart. When dementia finally occupied her almost non-stop, I had to force myself to go see her. But she always knew who I was, even at her most distant. Her eyes would light up when I walked in and she’d hold my hand. But she was soon gone again, lost in an incomprehensible world that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I knew she was suffering. I knew how much she despised the fate that ultimately overcame her. And so it was almost a relief when she passed. At least she will have peace, were my first thoughts.

But I haven’t been able to stop thinking about those tears running down her cheeks at the end. She’d lost her fight. The fun was truly over. No more traveling, no more new experiences, no more children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, no more crazy fun music, no more of life’s simple pleasures and beauties.

I’ve been haunted by those thoughts for days. But Grandma is indeed finally at peace and no longer suffering. So, I’m trying now to focus on how grateful I am for the love she gave her family, for the example she set of hard work and harder play and for always being there for anybody who ever needed her. She was one of the finest storytellers I knew. It’s not so much what she said, but in how she told those stories. I write a lot like she talked. I’ve been blessed to have her genes.

Grandma’s wake is Wednesday afternoon and her funeral is Thursday. So, don’t expect many posts.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


No Comments

Be the first to comment.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* *** UPDATED x2 - Quinn camp says Rauner "proposed a phony alternative of concocted venues" *** Rauner proposes attending four candidate forums, three public debates, one private debate
* Yes, he did, but so did Quinn
* You gotta do what you gotta do
* Rate Pat Quinn's new TV ad
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Latest smartphone privacy scare: gyroscope surveillance
        * 1Password for Android update: freemium model, new features
        * OnBeep To Tackle Group Communication Wearables With $6.25M In New Funding
        * Reduce your carbon footprint with Lumia
        * iFixit, Google team up to tear down Project Tango Tablet
        * Uber’s API Launch Lights The Way For Sharing Economy Apps
        * Samsung and Barnes & Noble introduce Galaxy Tab 4 Nook tablet

        * Researchers propose new Android security framework that could aid BYOD schemes
        * HTC Could Roll Out Octa-Core 64-Bit Chip On Desire Handset
        * Announcing Google’s VP Design, Android, Matias Duarte at Roadmap 2014
        * Pushbullet Now Syncs Clipboard Content Between Android and Windows
        * More Samsung Design Patents Spotted
        * Twitter Says It’ll Remove Images of the Deceased Upon Request
        * Samsung Unveils its first Nook Tablet: the $179 Galaxy Tab 4 Nook

        * Examining Carlos Rodon's present and (near) future
        * Chicago turns to Noesi in finale with Baltimore
        * Trouble finds Quintana late vs. Orioles
        * Abreu's homerless streak at an end
        * Orioles 5, White Sox 1: Bats, Hawk put on ice
        * Trouble finds Quintana late vs. Orioles
        * Hawk does ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Pat Quinn to take Ice Bucket Challenge again — .....
        * Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to get visit from Pat Q.....
        * Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats -.....
        * 2 Pat Quinns to raise money for ALS..
        * Newspaper: Rauner firm had Cayman investment funds..
        * Quinn proposes changes to condo fees bill..
        * South Africa: Soap opera cast is fired..
        * Transload siding completed in North Carolina; g.....
        * Quinn, Rauner Argue on Economy; Rauner Still Pu.....
        * Private lottery operator just shy of revenue go.....


        * Report: Woman slain in Bali received over $800K
        * Report: Woman slain in Bali received over $800K
        * Last 4 hostages freed in suburban Chicago standoff
        * 2 Pat Quinns to raise money for ALS
        * Negotiators still working to end Harvey standoff
        * Indiana county accepts closed Wabash River bridge
        * Illinois man sentenced to 24 year for sex assault
        * Clock ticks on Illinois term limits ballot measure
        * Quinn proposes changes to condo fees bill
        * Officials: Gunman holds hostages in Chicago suburb

        * Rauner urges quick decision on term limits measure
        * Vallas attacks, Rauner defends businesses and investments
        * Clock ticks on Illinois term limits ballot measure
        * Manar, others tout school funding reform bill
        * Vallas attacks, Rauner defends businesses, investments
        * State retiree insurance premiums to drop
        * State retiree insurance premiums dropping to pre-July 1 levels
        * Sanguinetti expresses love for Springfield, says ‘cow tipping’ comment was ‘jovial’
        * Vallas attacks Rauner's businesses, investments
        * Quinn emphasizes connection to ‘everyday people,’ Rauner’s wealth during Democratic rally

        * Chicago among top cities for fastest-growing companies, Inc. says
        * McDonald's names first U.S. veep for digital
        * Bloomberg offers grants to help cities innovate
        * Leslie Hindman launches online auction site with other houses
        * Uber hires Obama campaign guru to wage regulatory fight


        * School closed as Harvey hostage standoff continues
        * 4 children released in Harvey hostage standoff
        * Man dead in police-involved shooting on Far South Side
        * Man dead in police-involved shooting in Riverdale
        * Jackie Robinson West fans agree: ‘These young brothers are phenomenal!’
        * Parents urge CPS to OK new Chatham site for Concept school
        * $1 million pledge changes Lewis’ ‘calculus’ — but not her timeline
        * National school union would put $1 million into Karen Lewis mayoral campaign
        * Woman found dead in Bali got $840,000 in a cruise line settlement
        * Man charged in murder of 8-year-old daughter dies in jail hospital


        * Last four hostages, including 2 kids, released in Harvey
        * FBI believes James Foley beheading video is authentic: GlobalPost
        * Man, 21, fatally shot by police on Far South Side
        * Sculptures springing up across Chicago
        * Elderly couple discovered dead in apparent murder-suicide in Bridgeport
        * Blazing the Bloomingdale Trail: Over the hills, through the woods
        * Suspects in death of Chicago woman in Bali on suicide watch: police
        * Karen Lewis inches closer to challenging Mayor Rahm Emanuel
        * Illinois grads made progress on ACT, but numbers troubling
        * Chicagoan arrested in Ferguson: Shooting 'worth getting angry about'


        * Callis Says Plenty Of People Worried About Jobs, Economy
        * Rauner Blasts Quinn On "Failed" Policies, Governor's Mansion
        * Rauner Pressures Illinois Supreme Court To Rule On Term Limits
        * WUIS/SJ-R Business Report: The Future Of The Esquire Theatre; Slowing Downtown Spfld. Traffic
        * It's like the first day every day in popular 'Feelings' class
        * Classic Musical 'The Pajama Game' At New Salem
        * Push Continues For School Funding Overhaul
        * Mascots, Class Warfare, Rallies: Democrats Fight To Hold Onto Power
        * Rodney Davis Says "Do Nothing Congress" Criticism Unfair
        * Anti-Fracking Activists Crash Democrat Breakfast


        * Manar, others tout school funding reform bill
        * Michael Gerson: Rand Paul’s bogus outreach
        * Our Opinion: Double down on outside lottery management
        * Vallas attacks, Rauner defends businesses and investments
        * State retiree insurance premiums dropping to pre-July 1 levels
        * Rauner urges quick decision on term limits measure
        * Audit: Illinois overdrew federal Medicaid dollars
        * Blagojevich, state corruption feature in ruling
        * State hearing to focus on cutting greenhouse gases
        * GOP newcomers say lack of experience is an asset


        * Koplinski: On the movies
        * Carbondale interim chief is taking things one step at a time
        * New school year: New buildings, uniform codes, principals ... the list goes on
        * Coaches' corner: Tim Salem
        * A look at the Illini middle linebackers
        * Truck rollover closes ramp to I-74 in Danville
        * Aug. 22 football/recruiting chat
        * Who cares about the QB?
        * Daily Digest 8/20/14
        * Rove-backed group spends big attacking Enyart


        * Florida firm acquires Golf Mill property for $60 million
        * Protesters plant Ukraine flag on Moscow skyscraper
        * Fighting in eastern Ukraine kills 43 in 24 hours
        * Last 4 hostages freed in Harvey standoff
        * Liberian security forces seal slum to halt Ebola

        * Statement by Representative Jan Schakowsky...
        * Farm Antibiotic Restrictions Proposed - Al...
        * Jan Schakowsky: Tom Marino's Response to '...
        * Telling Nancy Pelosi to do research is sex...
        * Schakowsky blasts Marino for 'sexist' atta...
        * Schakowsky: Marino's attack on Pelosi was ...
        * Dem: Attack on Pelosi was 'sexist' - The H...
        * How I failed to live on the minimum wage -...
        * Proposed law would mandate minimum direct ...
        * Representative Schakowsky Statement on Fin...

        * Kirk, Durbin, Kelly Applaud Opportunity to......
        * Kirk, Durbin, Kelly Applaud Opportunity to......
        * Kirk, Durbin, Kelly Applaud Opportunity to......
        * Kirk, Durbin, Kelly Applaud Opportunity to......
        * Kirk, Durbin, Kelly Applaud Opportunity to......

        * Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats...

        * I’m retired. Not dead.
        * TMD. Randi’s trust problem.
        * NYTimes Reporter: Obama ‘Greatest Enemy To Press Freedom In A Generation’
        * EPA Head Admits New CO2 Restrictions Not About Climate
        * Internet domains & hosting
        * Progress Illinois EIC Takes ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (VIDEO)
        * Karen Lewis At 19th Ward Discussion
        * Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love
        * The [Wednesday] Papers
        * 10 Things you didn't know about Chicago's Heartland Institute


        * ICYMI: Rauner ratchets up pressure on term limits question
        * Department on Aging Hosts Financial Summit to Strengthen Financial Abuse Protections of Seniors - Summit held during annual Adult Protective Services Conference
        * ICYMI: Rauner urges quick decision on term limits measure
        * Top Obama Adviser Joins Uber – What Will Quinn Do?
        * Rauner Statement on Quinn Celebrating Thousands Giving Up on Work




            Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller