Saturday, July 12, 2008

Introducing Grandma Annie

Let me introduce you all to my in-law grandmother Anna Ruzicka. I first came to know this wonderful woman when Nick and I were dating. Nick told me he wanted to introduce me to a very special lady in his life. He took me to a house on Potter Street in Eugene. A petite elderly woman opened the door and immediately said, "Oh my God! My Nickolas!" and touched his face. "Oh my God", which Grandma Annie utters about 2,000 times in one day, is her favorite expression.
Grandma Annie has such a cool life story. She is from Czechoslovakia and adores "the old country," as she calls it. She ran cross country and track in high school, but her family had to cross the mountains to escape the Russians after WWII, kind of like in the Sound of Music. They snow-skiied to safety, and since she was the fastest, her job was to catch rabbits for food during the journey. With no gun.

Can you imagine?

She also fell into the river one day while running away from the Russians. She kept quiet enough to lose them, but lost a ski in the frigid water. She skiied on 1 foot the rest of the time.

Grandma Annie isn't actually Nick's real grandma. She became best friends with Nick's grandma Fran in America, and when Fran passed away before Nick was born, Annie promised to take over grandmothering duties. And she did. Nick has such fond memories of watching "Price is Right" with her in the mornings, walking over to her house after school, walking her little dogs, and so many other things.

When Annie first met me, she told how beautiful I was and that Nick talked to her about me all the time. He had been telling her since our freshman year that he was going to marry me. "And now he will!" she beamed. "My Nickolas always tells the truth." She gazed at him fondly. I felt inspired by such love that wasn't even blood-related.

Grandma Annie recently fell in her home and has been in rehab the past few weeks. Jack and I went to visit her yesterday. She'd already met Jack, but she fell in love with him all over again and told me she hasn't found a boyfriend in the dining hall yet, nor a sugar daddy. Her sense of humor cracks me up, and she has the biggest heart. She never misses a birthday or anniversary, and she loves hearing every last little detail of our lives. She grows carnivorous geraniums and loves her animals, even the wild squirrels in her backyard.

I love her dearly. She is such a treasure.