Some people, when they die, leave behind vast fortunes. Their families gather, on friendly terms or not, and listen to the executor of the estate as they pronounce who will recieve what. Artwork, china, silver, automobiles, antiques – all can be left as heirlooms.

My Grandma Laura- or, Grandma Crawford as I knew her- left behind plenty of things. Sequined crocheted hats. Hundreds of dolls and salt and pepper shaker sets. Even some “colorful” (read: naughty) ash trays, mugs, tea towels, etc. She was, um, “colorful,” too.

We cherish her recipes and favorite dishes, each grandchild favoring the version they received from her. The sneaky lady was always changing her recipes and then insisting that the new style was how she always did it.

And there is the lake, of course. Not that it was hers to give, but her fondness for it was certainly passed down to her decendents. In the trailer she modified with her own hands, we still cook with her pots, look at her art and even sleep beneath her blankets. Every corner is filled with her memories.

However, my favorite heirloom from her are these:


The daisies are wild up at the lake, but the peonies, the ferns and the columbine were all her. As a girl, the ferns towered over me as they tower over my own kids now. I admired the giant peonies and struggled to pronounce their name right. And the columbine . . .! Planted along the back of the trailer, it is a rainbow of colors and combinations and they always are breathtaking. I love that she was a tough lady and that she expected the same tenacity she had of her plants; hauling them up to the lake and the unforgiving soil and climate that was present there. I don’t know the actual story behind those plants, but I can only imagine from other stories that the family tells. At any rate, they continue to be a testament to her likes, her hobbies, and her heart. And I will gladly receive that heirloom and treasure it as she did.