Off beat: This year’s other Sept. 11 |

Off beat: This year’s other Sept. 11

Tonya Bina
Off Beat/Grand County, Colo.

If my grandmother Christine and Martha Stewart were have had a sew-off, bake-off, canning-off, my money would’ve been on Grandma, hands down.

She had a loom in her basement and made beautiful Bohemian rugs; she baked decadent cinnamon rolls and Czech “kolace” pastries from scratch; she quilted goose-down comforters called perinas (pronounced ‘pezhina’); she crocheted the Lord’s prayer into a wall hanging; and she gardened and canned most everything she harvested.

When I was small, rather than the standard lemonade stand, my Czech grandmother thought it might be fun for me to sell zucchini outside my grandparents’ cheerful pale-yellow home on the neighborhood-street corner. My fledgling vocabulary led me to shout out to passersby: “Zooba-cchini!”

She never corrected me, finding the smiles I brought to people more important than proper pronunciation.

My paternal grandparents raised three sons on a farm. They taught each one the ethic of hard work and integrity, and each son passed down the same to his own.

My grandparents – who succeeded in giving me this nostalgic view of grandparenthood – died far too soon, long before I had the wherewithal to learn everything I could from them. So, I try to draw from elsewhere those skills I admired in them.

Now when I want to can pickles, I look it up in the Ball canning and preserving guide; to learn to sew, I fumble with stitches at Lorene Linke’s Fabric Nook in Granby; and to bake, I seek the guidance of Martha Stewart recipes or the Cooking Channel website. For advice on growing flowers and plants, I ask Cold Springs or Lunceford or Bob Scott or Pam Coonrod in Grand Lake. I hone the storytelling skills of my grandfather through my job as a writer.

Most of all, I long for the mentor of my plump and loving grandmother – those skills of my heritage that evaporated into fond memories.

Overshadowed by the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 this year, Sunday, Sept. 11, is also Grandparents Day.

As we remember those who gave their lives on that particular day, let us also appreciate the ones who gave us life, who perhaps sculpted us into the human beings we are today through guidance, love, heritage and tradition.

President Jimmy Carter signed a presidential proclamation in 1978 designating the first Sunday after Labor Day as “National Grandparents Day,” with the first official observance on Sept. 9, 1979. It has been recognized every year since.

According to the most recent U.S. Census figures available, about 1 million grandparents have primary custody over their grandchildren while about 7.5 million children were in the custody of their grandparents in 2010 alone, comprising of 10 percent of all children in the United States.

And half a million grandparents who are the sole providers for their grandchildren live below poverty level.

From these statistics, it’s evident the role grandparents play in our society – one that can shape the future of our nation by shaping the lives of young individuals. Our nation’s grandparents deserve our honor.

So if you are lucky enough to have grandparents in your life, spend some time talking with them this Sunday. You may be surprised at what you can learn.

In the meantime, flopped pie crust anyone?

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