My grandmother was a very interesting woman. Widowed at an early age, she supported herself by working and supplemented her social security by continuing to work well into her late 70s. She lived independently until she passed on somewhere in her late 80s – no one in the family is certain of her exact age as she used to continually shave the number.
She was an excellent cook and prepared and served many of the holiday meals including the best lemon meringue pie I have ever had. When I was older I had to hand grate the lemons and left with many a bleeding knuckle or finger. But unfortunately her recipes did not survive her passing as when giving out a recipe she would leave out vital ingredients – my mother believes that this was intentional.
Nana taught me to play canasta and was always cautioning me to play conservatively and never to be greedy by waiting to lay down a meld until I could pick up the pile as the downside was getting caught holding a big hand. She was fond of using adages and wise sayings that she claimed had been passed down for generations, many of which had outrageous and dire consequences for inappropriate action. In later years I learned that she had made most of these up in her head on the spot as she believed that proper child rearing justified outright lies if they proved her point. But regardless of her honesty, I believe that she was concerned only with my well being as her intent was to prevent me from coming to harm. For the most part it seems to have worked as I have survived to this point in time by following her advice and that provided by my parents and teachers.
There are two especially memorable items of advice that Nana gave me. The first was “Don’t put beans in your nose”. To this day I have remembered and followed that advice although, to be honest, I do not believe that I would ever have considered inserting beans or any other food substance into my nasal passages if she had not cautioned me against it. The second was “Always put on clean underwear, God forbid you are in an accident”. Thankfully I have never needed that advice but it has stayed with me. And I have come to realize that everything we need to know for successful homebuilding and success in life overall we should have learned as small children.
Here are a few examples of my grandmother’s wisdom that I believe are especially apropos for the homebuilding and residential development industries, with translations included:
Don’t put beans in your nose (similar to “Don’t put your finger in the electrical outlet”). Translation – don’t do anything stupid; think before we act. Continue reading