Grandma McKnight, Mountains, and Memories

Posted by on Nov 1, 2015 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts | 1 comment

Grandma McKnight, Mountains, and Memories

The other day, I glanced out the window of my bedroom in the mountain home I visited and I saw a chipmunk skittering around on the ground. Mountains and chipmunks remind me of Grandma McKnight. Especially chipmunks in mountains! Why? Let me tell you.


When I was a little girl my grandparents lived in Mariposa, California, a charming town worth visiting.  We lived in Nebraska at the time, so going to California was always a long trek. But, each visit involved a drive to Yosemite to see the massive redwood trees and incredible waterfalls, a lesson from Grandma about some little piece of nature, and a Psalm.


Grandma was big on the Psalms. She especially liked the Psalm that said,

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.” (Psalm 121:1)

I couldn’t help but think of that Psalm as I looked out the window at Grandfather Mountain. Well, at the clouds where Grandfather Mountain was supposed to be!

The second mountain community was Gunnison, Colorado where they moved in 1973, shortly after my mother died. Having them closer was such a comfort. Daddy could drive us the four hours to their house and they would love on us, instruct us, and love on us some more. We explored the mountains with them. Grandma let us make crafts using natural things like rocks, lichen, and pinto beans. (She was creative at keeping the grandchildren occupied in a productive way.) And all of the time we were doing our craft, she had us memorizing verses. Often the Psalms.


mountains 2

One summer, after we moved to California, we returned to Gunnison for a visit. Aunt Rachel, Uncle Paul, and their girls were living in Grandpa and Grandma’s basement while my uncle attended the university. One day we drove through the mountains and enjoyed a picnic along an icy mountain stream. The campground was inhabited by chipmunks, and they were used to being fed! I still remember Grandma, squatting down on the ground to help us feed the chipmunks.


Those memories came flooding back last weekend as I sat in a vacation home at a writer’s retreat surrounded by mountains, trees, and chipmunks. The trees were still vibrantly colored as it was just past peak leaf season, but soon the mountains will be ugly. Sticks on the mountain, I call it.


view out window

But last weekend? Wow! The verse Grandma taught me ran through my head, along with another one I found in a journal:


As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever. Psalm 125:2

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