Observation Of Grandma

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During my formative years, my maternal grandparents, Bill and Clara Swanson, often entertained large gatherings of friends at their home. Grandma always prepared a feast and the guests always separated by gender. The women congregated in the kitchen and dining area where they assisted with preparing and serving the food. Furthermore, subsequent to the meal, they put away the leftovers, washed the dishes, and wiped down the table and countertops. As the women toiled, the men blissfully engaged in leisure and congenial conversation, free of any guilt due to their idleness. If the conditions permitted, they preferred the shaded lawn where they sat in a mismatched set of webbed tubular aluminum lawn chairs and outdated, yet sturdier, wooden…show more content…
Obedient to the adage that “children should be seen but not heard,” I remained quiet. Nevertheless, I attentively listened. Throughout their discussions, the men avoided contentious topics such as politics and religion. In lieu of these controversial subjects, they evaluated the latest innovations in farm equipment and automobiles, presented comprehensive reports on the effects of the current weather on agricultural yields, and shared the latest firsthand accounts of successful fishing excursions. In addition, they frequently reminisced on subjects from their past; when they farmed with horses, flew with barnstormers, and danced late into the night at Jarchow…show more content…
However, rather than reminiscing on the subject of battlefield glory, they spoke of escapades in Paris. Since they frequently opted for the common practice of switching to Swedish to tell off-color jokes not suitable for immature ears, I heard hardly anything of consequence. Based on what they withheld, the old-timers had numerous fond memories of merriment in the French capital. Fortunately, the topic changed. At least one of the veterans served in Germany as part of the postwar occupation forces. He praised the Germans for their well-kept farms and their industrious work ethic and, therefore, held the Germans in higher regard than the French, whom he considered lazy and dirty. Even though they fought with the French against the Germans, there existed a universal consensus on the relative virtues of the two nationalities.1 The benevolent attitude whereby the combatants held no animosity toward their former enemies, enhanced my admiration for the old soldiers. Perhaps their Swedish heritage drew them with a kinder regard for Germanic values, which harmonized admirably with their

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