Friday, April 2, 2010


This is an older post from FB that I gave at Grandma Norbos Funeral in '09. This blog will be pretty random and not in any chronological order.

Memories of Grandma - Given at Grandma Norbos Funeral 1/31/09

I am honored and feel it a privilege to bring a few words on behalf of the grandsons.

Memories of Grandma:

Some of my earliest memories as a child were visiting Grandmas house and the mysterious closet in the kitchen where we would go to find the big jar of marbles and the marble roller. That curious concoction of camphor, liniment oil, moth balls and cleaning supplies would waft up to greet us as we opened the squeaky door.

Memories of playing hide and seek in the house when we were little. When I was really small some of my Uncles would put me on the lazy susan in the cupboard and spin me around to the back surrounded by all kinds of baking ingredients, groceries and pots and pans. I was really hard to find!

Playing floor hockey between the doors in the kitchen.

Sleeping in the bunk beds in the closet that Grandma had built and decorated with the faux windows and little curtains at each end.

Time spent in the huge tractor tire sandbox and the tree swing.

The smell of burnt toast and strong coffee when we would wake up and would hear Grandma coming down the stairs to do the laundry . . . always humming a hymn - Grandma wouldn't have known a "pop" tune if her life depended on it!

In later years after Grandpa quit driving or maybe somebody stopped him from driving, Grandma went and got her drivers license - she was 67. She then bought Grandma Carlsons big white Pontiac Parisienne, after Grandma Carlson had unceremoniously backed out of her garage, right through the closed door speeding backwards across the entire Tabernacle parking lot, planting the car into the porch and corner of Don Powells house.

We would always pray before any trip in the car, even to go to the staff store which was about 2 blocks away. Grandpa and Grandma always thanked the Lord for the traveling mercies shown to the Norbo family over the years, and from the harrowing tales my Mother used to relate of Grandpas driving they were "mercies" indeed ! On the return trip from the store we would pray again!

Grandpa loved to play the piano and I remember Grandma encouraging him to stick to the hymns when he would launch into a lively rendition of the Football March or some other "secular" piece.

As many of you know, Grandpa Norbo was quite possibly as close to a coffee addict as one could get. He treasured his Minnesota Vikings insulated mug and made sure that it was always full of good strong coffee at all times. His idea of good coffee was just to leave it going all day and keep adding as necessary in true Norwegian style. One of Grandmas famous quotes was - "Daddy - that stuff will kill you" - and it did - Grandpa passed away at 96 years of age.

Mom and Dad were on Prairie staff and we were not allowed to have televisions back in those days. By then Grandpa was retired and so a highlight every week in the winter was going to Grandmas on Saturday night and watching Hockey Night in Canada with Howie Meeker, Grandpa, cousin Timothy and my brother Dave on the old black and white TV - I am not able to repeat in these hallowed halls the politically incorrect names that Grandpa had for the Montreal Canadians - but suffice it to say that Grandma was not at all impressed! It must not have had too much of a phsycologicaly damaging effect on us, as my brother has been a life long Habs fan ever since. Those TV nights came to an abrupt end when Bill Gothard came to town.

I remember the excitement at relatives arriving from far flung places coming for Christmas, Graduations, and birthdays.

I would like to acknowledge my Aunts and Uncles that are here today. Your extraordinary efforts over the years at great sacrifice to yourselves and your families to visit Grandpa and Grandma has been truly remarkable - Thank you

Grandmas response when I would inquire of her on how she was doing was always - "Just Praising the Lord Little Stephen" - you see, I was Little Stephen and Uncle Steve was Big Stephen and Grandma would never, ever use a nick name or an abbreviated form of a given name.

The Norbos are a competitive bunch and we would have rousing games of PIT and Stock Ticker around the kitchen table - Grandma would always go quietly about her business in the kitchen, seemingly unfazed by the yelling and general commotion going on all around her.

Memories of going to Grandmas after school - peanut butter sandwiches on brown bread, milk and a cookie and sometimes an apple if we were lucky - of course, Grandma would never say lucky she would say "blessed" or maybe "fortunate."

When Cathy and I were expecting our first child we were invited over to Grandmas for lunch after church on Sunday. We had a very nice visit and as we were leaving Grandpa let us know that if we had a boy he would give us ten dollars and if it happened to be a girl it would be only 5 dollars. Grandma followed us quietly and as we were going out the door she said "the Lord doesn't care if it's a boy or a girl - if you have a girl, I will make up the other 5 dollars. Sure enough, when Christy was born, along came an envelope in the Campus Mail with . . . 5 dollars from Grandpa and 5 dollars from Grandma!

Grandma was a health nut long before it was trendy - brown bread, cod liver pills, carrot juice and water - she would take a whole pitcher of water to bed every night - and I think she drank the whole thing!

In more recent years while out on a walk we took our dog Oscar over to visit Grandma - when I greeted her with "we are just bringing Oscar to visit Grandma", she said- "I am NOT his Grandma!!"

Memories of Grandma getting our names wrong as she ran through a list of family names, finally landing on the right one.

If Grandma told you she was praying for you, there is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that she was.

Now, I am not a preacher, but I am the son of one and so I had to have at least a quasi outline:

Strong - Grandma was a physically strong woman, she had strong hands - she could cut wood, hammer a nail or handle a gun as well as any man.

Stories - We loved to hear Grandmas stories - especially the one of the young scoundrel that was stealing water melons from their garden in Idaho. When they set up to surprise the lad, he took off intending to jump over the fence. He left evidence of his misdeed in the form of a large section of his britches attached to the gate. He was identified the next morning in church when it was noticed that the new patch on his pants, matched the piece left behind.

Silly - Grandma had a humorous side not often seen by the casual observer. She could have that twinkle in her eye, that left you wondering "what exactly is Grandma up to?"

Sacrificial - All 8 of her children graduated from Prairie Grade School, High School and Bible School. Grandma was always concerned about the well being of others and many times went without so that others could "have."

Simple Life - Grandma had learned to agree with the Apostle Paul that whatever state she was in she was content - there were no visions of grandeur dancing in her head - in fact, I am pretty sure that today is the first time Grandma has ever ridden in a limo!

Survivor - Grandma was resourceful - with her boxes and jars of parts, some wire and glue, there was not much Grandma could not fix. Grandma could "multi task" long before the word was en vogue - I remember her sewing on her treadle sewing machine, making butter at the same time from cream that was in a jar attached to the treadle with one of her inventions.

Servant - Grandma showed her generous hospitality to hundreds of students, missionaries and staff over the years - her waffles with ice cream, popcorn balls, garden produce and pickles are the stuff of legends.

Saved - No one who ever met Grandma ever had any doubt where she stood when it came to her relationship with her Lord and Savior.

Whenever I would say goodbye to Grandma either on the phone or in person, I would say "Talk to you later or see you again". Grandma would always say, "Lord willing little Stephen" . . . this time it is my turn . . . it is our turn to say . . . we will see you again one day - "Lord Willing Grandma Norbo"

© 2010 Stephen J. Rendall - All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment