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Stepping Over the Horizon – My Tribute to Granny

January 10, 2019

“See the line where the sea touches the sky?” she almost whispered to me.

“Yes, I see it, Granny. It’s so far. It’s so beautiful.” The waves crashed against the rock and drops of salty water splashed our feet.

She stared for a minute and then continued,

“Yes it is. That’s because that is where we walk over to step into eternity and meet God.”

My little eyes and my little heart expanded, taking it all in. I never forgot that moment and never looked at the horizon the same way after that day.

I have never wanted this day to come– the day when all that I would have left of my Granny are my memories of her. But I am so thankful for her intentionality and desire to create memories that last. She looked for those moments– the still moment to insert a bit of wisdom, a bit of humor, a bit of joy, a bit of encouragement. She looked for those moments and she savored them. She taught me how to look for them and savor them as well.

I have always been fascinated by my Granny’s ability to tell stories with such ease. My Granny’s mind was like a treasure chest of meandering thoughts, facts, poems, ideas, and stories. Somehow she remembered them all and stockpiled them for just the right time when she might need them. Granny shared her life and wisdom with everyone she came into contact with– whether they wanted it or not. She was a poet; she didn’t just like to read poetry– she lived and breathed it. To many, she was a coach, a teacher, a counselor. And to me, she was all of those things rolled up into one important title: Granny. Though, her name didn’t roll off of our tongues smoothly but rather got hung up on the “rrrr” sound, extending her name to sound something like that of a parrot trying to repeat a new word, “Gaarrrrrrrranny!” Soon she signed cards with the extra r’s in her name. I think names are important and perhaps we emphasized her name when we said it because of how important she was to us.

From the time I was a child, she taught me the ways of the ocean, how to recite poetry, how to swim, how to get dirty and sandy and be okay with it and how to love others and to love God.

“Turn that T.V. off. We have family time now,” she would demand. You’d think that as a child that would have bothered us, but it didn’t. Granny knew how to entertain in the most unconventional ways. Whether singing Kumbaya by the fire or making stuffed animals talk she found ways to enjoy family time. If we didn’t have toys she would use her imagination and turn vegetables, like okra, into toy boats for our bath time. She wrapped Christmas gifts in black trash bags, she taught us how to plot hurricanes and how to do the jive. I have never liked speaking in front of others, but she coached me to recite Shel Silverstein poetry. I found myself being eaten by a boa constrictor on more occasions than I could remember. Granny truly knew “where the sidewalk ends” and she often walked with us to the end and entered our childlike world of imagination. But she also knew when to pull out and command– because command she did–“Out of the water! A storm’s coming!”

Granny had rules for everything and she proudly wrote about them in one of her articles entitled “Granny-rules.” She wrote, “As a Granny, it is my duty to teach you the rules of the waves, to drag your feet when walking, always wear ‘rock-runners’ because of the dangerous things in the water, put on sunscreen, don’t yell ‘help’ unless you need it, don’t look up with your mouth open when feeding seagulls, and to get out when Granny yells ‘get out.’ Someday, you may have children and pass these down to them, ‘The Granny rules.’ This way I can live forever.”

And live forever she will. She will continue to live in our hearts as we hold on to the memories we have with her. I know that everyone here has a special memory with Granny, or Coach Wheat, or Ms. Wheat, or Elaine, or ‘Laine or mom. I know that she prayed for me at stoplights and thought of me often. I know how much she loved her job as an educator and her role as a Granny. She took her roles seriously and has left a legacy of love and wisdom for many.

I’ll leave you with this saying that she passed down to me from her great-grandmother, “God is on the water, the same as on the land.” I know that Granny has walked out into the horizon and stepped from this earth to heaven. She surely knows now that God is on the water. So now, I will look forward to the day that I enter heaven and she can once again squeeze my hand tight like she always did and give me a “kiss on head.” Until then, I will pass on her Granny Rules and let her memory live on forever.

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Click here for Elaine B. Wheat’s Obituary

Here is an article that someone wrote in the Victoria Advocate:

With few words, Elaine Wheat could make ripples.

For nearly 40 years, Elaine’s column, “Oceans for Emotions,” brought light, laughter and reflection into one woman’s relationship with God.

And although Elaine, 82, died Dec. 28, her memories and lessons live on through the thousands of printed words that graced newspaper pages.

We’re not alone when we say she will be sorely missed. We know our readers will miss her, too, which is why for the next year, we will run Elaine’s past columns.

You see, what made Elaine’s writing so special was that she was you – the reader.

As a teacher raising two sons, Elaine was just like many other people. We believe Elaine was able to garner the following she did because of how relatable she was. Whether she was fishing at her favorite fishing spot or talking about her most memorable catches, Elaine always managed to teach us a little bit about ourselves in her writing.

Whether you were an avid fisher like Elaine or not, one could relate to the trials and tribulations Elaine faced. Just like the rest of us, she had bad days and good days. And, just like Elaine, we all have that one place that makes us feel at peace.

That was Elaine’s takeaway. She taught us to find joy in the little things – the family visits, the quiet moments spent with our own thoughts and prayers. She taught us to ride the wave of life.

Throughout the next year, we encourage you to read Elaine’s columns. By reading, we’re sure you will learn life lessons through the teachings she leaves behind.

Our Advocate Faith section will never be the same. We’re positive Elaine is eternally fishing at her favorite fishing spot, donning her favorite fish hat.

Fish on, Elaine. Fish on.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mary Post permalink
    February 13, 2019 4:31 am

    This is beautiful!

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