We just spent 3 glorious days at Island View Farms.
It is the place that Papa Moo spent his childhood and 3 generations of Inmans have raised or are currently raising their families.
It is our very favorite place to go.
There is just something about the way it feels as you turn in, rumble over the cattle guard and head down the long driveway.
We are always welcomed with a smile and a warm embrace.
The property includes 3 homes
The Farmers cousin, Melissa, and her family,
his Aunt Shelah and Uncle Fritz and his
Grandma and Grandpa Inman's.
A place so rich in history.
Grandpa Inman, whom I didn't get to meet, was known as Big Phil.
Grandma Inman is known as Viv, Gram or as our kids call her Grandma Viv.
She is one of my very favorites.
She was a farmers wife and a hairdresser.
This year was her 94th Christmas!
One thing that I have always loved about Gram is her hands.
They tell such a story.
They are gnarled and worn, but soft and tender.
They feel like delicate crepe paper.
One simple ring wrapped around her finger since the day she became Mrs. Phillip Inman.
Fingernails filed so neat perfectly polished.
These hands have
cradled babies just minutes old
they have rolled out miles and miles of the best cinnamon rolls that have ever crossed your lips
they have washed mountains of dishes and been dried on her apron
they have folded endless baskets of laundry, pulled weeds and planted flowers
they have made dinner for big burly farm hands trying to get hay in
they have held a broom used for sweeping out the kitchen and chasing kids
they have drawn fresh milk from the tank for breakfast
they have mixed up thousands of batches of Swedish pancakes
they have grasped onto Big Phil's hand so they each would know that whatever they faced they would face it together
they have given an encouraging pat on her kids' backs as they stepped out into a new adventure
they have clapped together in celebration
they have cupped tender faces as she pulls you in for a loving giggle and a hug goodbye
they have even been known to throw a mattress out of a second story window when she had enough of her kids fighting over it.
They have held her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
They have comforted, disciplined
I sat next to her at midnight mass one Christmas Eve hands clasped in prayer
They have held my hand so warm and tender exuding love through her grasp
Hands so small and meek yet so strong.
Today Gram spends her days confined to a wheelchair, but there is no doubt that when you greet her she will reach out her hand welcoming yours into hers with a gentle pat and a tender rub.
She doesn't see so good anymore and her memory isn't always the best.
She thinks I am one of the kids and always comments about how The Farmer has "gotten so big"
Everytime we leave The Skagit Valley we wonder if it will be the last time Gram takes our hand in hers.
Everytime I hope it isn't.
Blessed is me...