On 12-08-11 I received the worst phone call of my life. It was my wife and she told me Grandma Arlene had died. There was no warning, rhyme or reason, but she was gone. The hardest part for me was that earlier that morning I had just told my daughter we were going to see Grandma Arlene (GGMA) in a few days.
Grandma Arlene went by many names, GGma, Grandma, Bubbles and of course Mrs. Williams. She was the Matriarch of the Williams family. She set forth traditions that will be passed down to future generations. Grandma also touched so many peoples' lives and made so many memories.
Traditions like singing Christmas songs before we open stockings and gifts, even though apparently no one thought it was a good idea to have anyone with a good singing voice in the family. But every year at Williams' Christmas you better believe we will be singing songs, as long as the dogs don't start howling.
She also set forth traditions at Duck Hunting Camp. Traditions like bean soup around the campfire on opening weekend. A Duck Camp staple that my step mother Ellen has so generously taken over the past couple years. Grandma has shown the new generations of hunters like myself how to properly walk the correct routes on different lakes, such as Bubbles lake. (A lake named after her) One day in the future my daughter might ask me "Dad why do the cows walk the same paths around the lake we we do?" I will tell her because the cows are smart and they know these are the same paths Grandma made 60 years ago. Just so you know if you're ever duck hunting in our area of the Okanogan know that your not likely following a cow trail but more likely a grandma trail - the cows only use the trail because Grandma allowed it.
I have too many memories to tell of Grandma. The last memory I have of Grandma was at Duck Camp in October of 2011. At age 88 she still showed up and went out with the hunting party. I had the honor of being Grandma's chauffeur for the day. At the end of the day she told me what a great day she spent with my wife and daughter and that she enjoyed getting to know them better. I had no idea the significance of that statement at that time.
Another vivid memory I had with Grandma was when I was around 7 years old. I knew I could always count on Grandma to come get me from school and not question if I was really sick or not. Anyways we went into the local grocery store QFC to get some things. While Grandma was checking out I went outside where I found a piece of charcoal. I wrote a small bit of graffiti on the outside wall next to the exit and went back inside to where Grandma was. We walked outside and Grandma caught me me real quick. I guess not too many kids named Rory frequented that particular QFC. After I washed it off all was good again and we went home for a heated and intense game of Candyland.
But of course Grandma passed more down than just traditions and memories. She taught us her values: when I look at my four sibling I see the kindness of Grandma's heart, the wisdom of her mind and the wild side from her soul.
Grandma passed peacefully in her chair, and although I was in no way ready for her to leave us, I am sure she had a smile on her face while on her way to the Duck Camp in the sky where Grandpa already has the fire started and the tent set.