Several seasons ago, I found the apparel and the company in the shape of the softest green hoodie. Not really sure what sealed the deal: the color, the look and feel, or the philosophy--on which the business is built and/or the message. Or just everything. But there you have it; I bought the sweatshirt (far too fine to sweat in, though) and I bought into the philosophy because it evoked everything I learned from my grandmother.
Like most women of her generation (she would be over 100 were she still alive, though she lives in my memory), life was not good. It was the worst 2 wars, the worst depression, the worst recession, and if you walk on the side of half-empty, it was nothing to brand. Yet for my grandmother, life was good. Grandmother used to tell me, when we picked giant blackberries at the summer cabin (yes, it was real wood and quite large logs at that), or when I sat at her side, amazed at her sewing savvy (a skill I did not absorb) that life was good. I heard it when I got sticky dough fingers learning how to make noodles from scratch. She told me every chance she had. Sweetie, (my pet name, so much easier than the one my Mother stuck me with when she could not make a decision), she would say, Life is what you make it, so make it good.
I can still hear her voice in my mind's eye, remember the years and years of spending summers with my grandparents, living for the lake summers. It was magical. I had a dog, a boat, a great lake, the woods, my books and bathing suits. I gained an unerring ability to make the simple fun. That was my grandfather's legacy, learned from hours of sitting with him from first light, fishing for trout, or eels, or whatever was in the waters. I learned patience, discipline, self-possession, and I knew that life was good because that was what I had promised to make it.
As I face a challenge that I leaned from the PET Scan results yesterday was a bit larger than I had anticipated, I still hear my grandmother's voice. I see the first light rising on the lake and through the mist I see my grandfather reaching for his line. I hand him a worm and wait. In the distance, I hear the stillness of time past reiterate that life is what you make it, so, Sweetie, make it good.
I have, and I will. Promise.