Marching around ME The Great

I recently brought the kids over to my grandma's for a visit. It was heavenly! 

I'd been meaning to visit for some time, but life, as we so readily justify, gets busy. 

Finally we seized a rainy afternoon to swing by her cozy West St. Paul home. Stepping into my grandma's house always brings back the fondest childhood memories. 

Grandma ME, as we affectionately call her -- a nickname for her name, Mary Ellen -- can sit down at the piano and pluck out any song. (Isn't there something nostalgic and Grandma-y about a house with a piano?)

When my siblings and I were young, she would play piano while we marched around. Her house's layout allows for a full circle through the main level, and we raced around that track endlessly, giggling and periodically bonking into each other.

To see my own girls do that now warms my heart.  

Grandma played them a medley of marches, from Battle Hymn of the Republic (Maria's favorite) to When The Saints Go Marching In. She threw in Go Tell It On The Mountain for good measure.

Jane kept asking for "one more" -- and throwing in hugs to sweeten the deal. (The girls call her ME The Great, a nod to her status as great grandma. It suits her perfectly.)

At 86, Grandma is spry. Her outlook on life is contagious; she has a deep faith and a self-deprecating sense of humor that can turn any challenge into an adventure.

I'm so grateful my children can learn from her and be loved by her. 


 Christina Ries is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and three young children in Inver Grove Heights. Write her at