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MY LAST DAY WITH GRANDMOTHER

When I returned from Viet Nam in late 1967, it was the next to last time I got to visit with my grandmother Amanda Jane Cook.  By that time, she was in her 90's and very feeble. She had to be placed in a constant care facility because of her medical problems. She was glad to see us and her great-grandchildren, our three daughters, who loved her dearly. My middle daughter, Marla got the jump on the others because she had the first of our grandchildren and promptly named her Amanda. It was a joyful, as it can be under the circumstances, reunion and we were all sorry when we had to leave.

Now grandmother had a new food complaint. They weren't giving her enough to eat and the portions were small. We happened to arrive just before they delivered the lunch trays. They had a tray so full of chicken and vegetables that it would have done credit to the biggest Marine chow hound. It looked delicious and we ate the same food in the cafeteria later because the home was in a remote area in Monroe County with the most beautiful view I had seen in a long time. We did notice she wasn't hesitant in drinking the small glass of wine they served with her lunch.

The only sad note was she thought we had come to take her home. When we questioned her about where home was, it was a place where she had not lived in over fifty years.

We had another visit with her in the summer of 1969, which matched our 1968 visit and a couple of months later we got the dreaded phone call that she had passed away. I am sure she resides with the select few and hope when I meet my Maker, I will be selected to guard, honor and protect her as a part of her Marine Honor Guard.

Grandmother lost two sons at the turn of the century, one at the age of 5 and the other at 18 months. She was always talking about them and hoping their graves were being cared for. I spent a day in two separate years searching for my great grandfather's burial site. On the second year, I found his, but not the graves of the two young sons. Bob and Pauline Pruett, two good friends, found them, cleaned up the tombstones and took us to see them when we next visited. I hope you will rest a little better, dear lady that this has been taken care of and not to worry any longer.

Musings of Henry T. Cook, Lt. Col., USMC (Ret.)