She comes up to about my chin, which is to say 5 foot tops, which all my boys think is hilarious because she makes them stand on the bottom step to talk to her, while she stands on the top.
She was widowed years ago, and lives on her own in her own home in SE Qld. During the drought, when she lived out of town, she carted water and milked cows and chopped wood. Now she lives in town near my uncle and she doesn't have to do those things for herself, although my uncle had to take her ladder away from her after they found out she'd been up on it cleaning her guttering out. She complained to everyone who'd listen that her son stole her ladder, so they bought her a new one and made sure it's too short for her to reach the guttering.
For her 80th birthday, my cousin bought her a beautiful statue for her garden, but he warned her that she wasn't to move it around by herself. If she wanted to shift it, she had to promise to ask him to do it.
"Well." she huffed. "I didn't know it was going to come with strings attached!"
She grew up with the Depression mentality that you make do or do without, and her idea of luxury is to buy some new plants or handicrafts materials. She used to let me, as a treat, take all her hand-made doilies out of the drawer and look through them, and when I got older, I was allowed to iron them.
Her meals were always good old-fashioned affairs, like sausages with 3 veg, and she made the yummiest rice pudding ever.
When I was a little girl, her farm was the coolest place in the world to be. We had endless hours of delight playing in the creek or wandering through the rainforest, or tagging around after her, probably driving her mad although I never remember her even snapping at us.
We never wanted to go home, ever. (sorry, Mum!)
Her house has it's own smell, and it makes me think of woodsmoke and pumpkin and kerosene, which might sound a bit odd but I love it. It's also filled with hand-crafted items, from her own exquisite embroidery and crochet, to the furniture my grandfather made, to the quilts my mum made for her.
Every kid should have a grandparent who loves them. I'm so lucky to still have mine.