My Grandma Betty died on Sunday.
My Grandma Buttsy, who I can envision clearly, puttering around the kitchen, making mashed potatoes and offering me grape soda.
She once made me a popcorn ball the size of a basketball for my birthday.
She had a garden that was so lovely, so tasty, that I thought for sure her gardening genes were so strong they would automatically be passed on to me. Alas . . .my attempts at gardening will never compare to Grandma Betty's.

Happy Birthday to my Grandma Betty. To Grandma Elizabeth Bird Lake Stablein. Grandma Buttsy. The woman who will always remain in my mind as slightly chubby and jovial and blessed with a head of thick and lovely hair. Seeing her now, light as a child and just as helpless, it is hard to envision her as a bustling busybody shooing the kids out of the kitchen while she adds more butter to the giant bowl of mashed potatoes. Grape soda. Grandma Buttsy always had grape soda on hand for us, even if it was sometimes flat. She loved to watch the news. She taught us how to gamble.

I remember going to the memorial service of a family friend at the beginning of the decade. She was a longtime friend of my mom's, and I was not quite to the adult age where you stop noticing adults' ages. I was slightly uncomfortable going, because I had not been to many memorial services, and because she had died of cancer, and because she had children my age and younger. I dressed in dark, somber and appropriate clothing and I sat next to my younger sister, trying not to make eye contact with anyone. It felt very surreal, and of course it was sad, so I withdrew.