My grandma was the first Elder that I knew. She was a second generation witch and the main teacher of our family path. Grandma was independent, strong, wise, a champion for justice, compassionate, funny, and pouted when she couldn’t get her way. Grandma loved history and Zane Grey novels.
We would go on walks in the fields and hills and everything had a meaning. She would point and say things: “A spider’s web can be used to clot blood” or “See these puff balls (a kind of fungus), once they are dry, you can open them and use the powder as an antibiotic”. I learned many things from grandma about energy, nature, earth tides and the cycles of birth, life and death. She introduced me to the guardian of our land, to other nature spirits, to the moon and the sun, among the specifics to our family path. Everything with her was a lesson in nature and magic.
Grandma wasn’t just respected as an Elder in our family. She was also respected in the local community. Family and friends would come to her for advice, readings, healing and help when they got into trouble. She helped those less fortunate by giving to needy families, getting someone a job or having them help out around the ranch. Everyone landed on grandma’s doorstep.
It wasn’t often that we would have the veterinarian come out to check on one of the cows or horses, but when we did, grandma was right there learning whatever she could from them. Often friends or family would bring a sick or injured animal (wild or domestic) to the house for her to nurse. I remember there was always some animal she was tending; fox, fawn, calf, even a turkey vulture.
Her fondness was for birds, especially quail. No quail hunting on the property. I once watched her gently catch a hummingbird in her cupped hands and then releasing it to flutter around her. Her lesson: to be quietly one with nature. She would often trade the cats for a bird they had caught (one that was injured not dead) by giving them tuna or some beef. I think the cats got wise because they began bringing birds that were just mouthed and not bitten to the front porch for a trade.
Grandma was well liked and respected in the community. She got city water to the local ranchers by donating acreage to the water district for a pump station, so that the children would have good drinking water. She was a volunteer for blood drives and rummage sales. She was an activist and fought the city, county and the local environmental groups for over 30 years; to keep her property from annexation or being forced to turn it over to the state park. That land is still in my family thanks to Grandma. She was a 5’ force to be reckoned with. Grandma was my hero and I like to think that I’m a lot like her.
In Loving Memory
1902 – 2001