Grandma’s Backyard

Today as I was sitting in the presence of the Lord and enjoying His sweet love and slowly chewing on Psalm 91, soaking in how practical and complete His love is, I was overcome at the thought of the Most-High God. He IS the Most-High, so high above us, perfect and holy, and deserving of honor, glory, and reverential fear.

At the same time, He is tender and caring like a mother bird who lets her babies snuggle up close, tucking them tightly in her wings.


While meditating on these beautiful thoughts, I was sipping on my morning smoothie. Suddenly a bit of fresh raspberry shot up the straw and into my mouth and an intense burst of raspberry woke up my taste buds.

In an instant, a flash of my grandmother came to my mind, along with her backyard. The image was so intense that it startled me.

Tears started trickling down my face as I fondly recalled every summer picking raspberries off the bushes with her, poking my fingers with the tiny little thorns. My sister and me vying to see who could pick the most, fighting about who was getting in the way of who. We would eat half of what we picked and then grandma would make fresh jam out of the rest. We always went home stocked with jars of apricot and raspberry jam in our arms!

The raspberry bushes grew up and along a 6-foot gray concrete wall in the back of a little backyard in the desert of southwest Wyoming.

It was an oasis and my favorite place in the entire world.

Given a choice of going anywhere in the world or going back to that backyard with the trees, flowers, picnic tables, swing, raspberry bushes, and smells – I would go there.

However, I wouldn’t want to see a single item that didn’t belong to grandma or grandpa. Even if they weren’t there – I would want to be there to remember the love, joy, and peace I felt in that sanctuary.

Grandpa built that house and perfectly planned the backyard. Two trees that were too big for the yard, manicured to an impeccably shaped ball on top of a trunk, stood on each end of the yard. Their branches met and touched each other in the middle (it was a small yard).It was tiny but perfect.

My grandmother standing under the blooming crabapple tree.

The trees were beautiful. In the Spring, the crabapple tree exploded with the brightest pink blooms, filling the space with an intoxicating aroma.

The grass was always perfectly cut, and dark green – no brown spots were ever allowed on grandpa’s lawn. It was lush, thick, soft, and cool. I can still feel the grass under my feet – barefoot was the only way to go in the backyard!

grandma's backyard
Playing in the sprinkler with my cousins. 1976.

It was a cozy space. A high row of dense, green bushes to provide privacy on one side (though the neighbors on both sides were family) and grandpa’s standalone garage (aka Man Cave) on the other.

At the front of the yard stood the red-brick house grandpa built, extended with a two-story covered patio. A giant picture window overlooked the patio and backyard from under the metal patio roof.

The green grass came right up to the two-story covered patio, which was flush with the lawn. The patio was as big as the yard. It held a large porch swing, big enough for several people to sit on the cushy seat and sway in the summer breeze. I can still hear the giant springs banging back and forth as we swung.

Whoever wasn’t swinging was sitting at the picnic table playing cards, and just beyond that, a few patio chairs were grouped together where the older men would sit and talk about fishing or trucks. Some of them smoking their pipes, and definitely drinking Coors beer from the vintage yellow can! 

grandma's backyard swing
The cousins, and a neighbor kid, filling Grandpa’s swing. I’m wearing the birthday hat for my 6th bday (the girl next to me was nearly the same age as me!). It was the best swing ever!

Grandpa never missed a detail. He built a wall at the exposed end of the patio to keep the Wyoming wind away.

It was a canopy of heaven tucked away in a desolate and unknown land. Outside of that tiny haven was nothing but red dirt and sagebrush for hundreds of miles.


My heart misses my grandmother so much. She and grandpa offered such unconditional love and acceptance. They were so kind, not only to me and my sister, but to everyone. Rarely an hour passed where someone was not coming in the back door yelling, “Hello Earlene? Richard?”. They were well loved in the community because they loved well themselves.

As that image of the backyard and the memories of my grandmother flashed in my head with the bite of the raspberry, I also saw her in heaven. I know she is there waiting for me.  To have her be one of the first to greet me – holding a bowl of raspberries – would be a delight.

I imagine walking arm and arm with her, staring at her gorgeous frame – she was so beautiful. I want to dance with her in the courts of heaven and explore the all the wonders of the Kingdom.

The eagerness to see her again is profound – I know she will be there waiting to welcome me. I only hope that my grandfather is there too. I don’t know. He was a kind, gentle man, with a heart of gold. But I never heard him talk about Jesus. Going to church, reading the Bible, and Jesus – that was for the rest of us.

My prayer is that he had an encounter with Jesus I was unaware of. If he is there in heaven to greet me, he will be a hoot to be around! Laughing, playing, whistling the Beer-barrel polka, and dancing to the Tennessee Waltz is what we’ll do.

Oh, I can not wait for that day to be reunited forever!

How funny to think of how one small bite of a raspberry can take me on such a journey in my mind.


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