“What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.” ~ Rudolph Giuliani
My beloved Nana and I were always the ‘September Girls’, her birthday being the 2nd and mine the sixth. It was a special club the two of us belonged to, and since she passed away last year it’s the first September I’ll spend without her.
Yesterday I thought of Nana often as my husband and I travelled through the hot, dry Outback. It would have been her 98th birthday – so close to that magical 100 where we’d joked she would have tea with the Queen.
It was fitting that I started my day with one of her favourite meals – a perfectly toasted sandwich and a cuppa chino (as Joycey used to call her cappuccino). We found a funky little cafe aptly called The Queens Beans in Roma – decked out with gnomes, fairies, astro-turf and all manner of funky retro chic. Nana would have adored it.
After an early start we drove and drove. Endless miles of dry and barren country, road trains, red dirt, paddocks covered in the silver stubble of long dead grasses, relentless blue sky, flocks of hungry emus and lonely herds of sheep and cattle. Drought is biting hard out here. All the memories of our own struggles on the farm came back (you can read about them here and here), and more than once we commented on how grateful we are to now call coastal New South Wales our home – where it rains often, and beaches and good coffee are just around the corner.
We punctuated the day’s road trip with visits to tiny towns for lemonade iceblocks, cold drinks and toilet stops. There’s been next to no phone coverage, and little on the radio. But that’s okay. I love that after all this time my husband and I still have so much to talk about, to laugh about. Road trips are great for that!
Finally we arrived at our next overnight stop late yesterday afternoon. We dined on a bush veranda at twilight, looking out over a magical sunset, grazing kangaroos and twinkling stars. As beautiful as it was, the skies hold no promise of rain.
I’m missing Nana more and more, rather than less. It’s only now I’m beginning to appreciate how much she shaped me as a person, and how she continues to. Surely I’ve been blessed in the Grandparent department.
In tribute to Nan, I’ve included links to some of her recipes and wisdoms below. I hope you enjoy them.
Much love to you, Nicole xx
Nana’s Wisdoms on Love and Life:
And to conclude – a song my Nana used to sing me all the time when I was little. (Hey, it was the 1970’s!)
Hasta Manana, beautiful Nana…