Yesterday, this world lost one of the greats: my sassy, vivacious, tough-as-nails Grandma Rita.
Her love of dogs, gambling, and gossip (though she maintained she was merely “sharing information”) are well documented, but my most cherished memories of her will be how much she supported my writing–she read every word I ever published in The Hoya, bought every copy of Newsweek in Sugar Notch the summer I worked there (even when I didn’t have a byline), and always laughed at the jokes no one else found funny on this little blog. Even after I became a nurse and writing was no longer in my career path, there was almost never a phone call that went by without her reminding me, “You are a tremendous writer, you know,” and then, a crescendoing giggle, “And funny as hell.”
She was also the first person outside of the immediate family to meet MrKef, and I’ll always be grateful for how immediately and warmly she embraced him as part of the family. They bonded over paczkis and poodles, and he was an admitted and unabashed favorite of hers.
Here we are on our sort-of-secret first wedding day with her, because I couldn’t imagine getting married without her:
And while I could go on and on about her, I’ll leave you with this absolutely-typical email she once wrote me, after she saw on the Facebook that I had gone to a shooting range, subject line: Annie Oakley:
chrissy—-so pleased that you have taken up the fine art of target shooting. I told Jeannie and she was thrilled–she and I in our younger years were on rifle teams we competed every sunday. Jeannie was a sharpshooter and all the guys wanted her on their team. she never missed a target…….. she was one lady not to tangle with. It is a great way to spend a day///// hope all is well with you….the puppy is teething and driving this ole lady nuts. To date he has eaten/chewed my new boots , the electric wire on my fan,one of Rose!s throw blankets last night he was very quiet, I was thrilled, after awhile I checked him he had my cell phone, chewed all the leather from the case top and bottom===we checked he did not make any calls. Have a great day. Love you rita and ryley