The Hardwick Site

Elsie Wareham Ode
Ode to Gran

by her granddaughter Laurie Geddes.

Dear Gran, dear departed, most dearly belov’d
We know that you’re watching from somewhere above

Let’s forget recent years now, and cherish the rest
Let’s think of Gran how we remember her best

On her chair in the kitchen, the kettle on the stove
At 53 Longueville Road, Lane Cove

Gran’s tea was her lifeblood — strong, milky and sweet
She’d feed the girls lol-lols, while the menfolk had meat

When Bruce came on Sundays, she’d fry up a chop
Bought specially on Saturday, from the Ham & Beef Shop

Down the street she would go, every week, without failure
Lug that stroller up steps, and through the azaleas

We loved her steak and kid, with the suet crust pastry
(Her tripe boiled in milk was deemed somewhat less tasty)

She’d sharpen her knife on the step at the door
And say: not bad for three jumps at the cupboard door

She made super steamed puddings with thick yellow custard
And you couldn’t have ham without hot English mustard
(mixed up in a bowl with the tiniest spoon
have some more dear … you’re not leaving … so soon?)

If one ever felt bilious, there was one stock suggestion
An After Dinner Mint, dear? to aid the digestion?

Nice and plump she’d squeeze us, and tease us, and say
Blithely ignoring our squeals of dismay

In the dining room, family gath’rings took place
Gran in her chair, head bowed, saying grace

Everyone squeezed in, or as many as were able
Not too much wine, dear, I’ll be under the table

Then a game of 500 in the lounge room next door
The octagonal table, the poof on the floor

Who dealt this rubbish? she’d invariably say
When the best we could call was a measly six spades

We’d crank up the gramophone and she’d laugh as we danced
To too young to tango and ricochet romance

(Gran never liked telly, preferring the wireless
Her fondness for Brian Wilshire remarkably tireless)

She loved to regale us with stories of old
Of Blaney, and great-uncles discovering gold

And she’d recite word for word, when the mood came upon her
The tale of the Maid of the Legion of Honour

(And Pindunderagig, that giant so big
And Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy-Jig)

The green phone on its pedestal there in the hall
Across from the spot Scat scratched on the wall

(The number we’ll use now to call her in heaven
0 — 2 — 4 — 2 — 7 — 1 — 4 — 5 — 7)

We lived with Gran, many of us, at various ages
And she touched all our lives, at various stages

She made us at home, always generous and kind
As long as it’s family, she’d say, I don’t mind

Because family mattered, more than anything else
Especially, sometimes, even more than herself

Dear Gran, look around, at your extraordinary estate
Five children, 21 grand, and 28 great
(Not to mention two great-greats, Chloe & Jade)

While we’ll all miss you sadly, we wish you the best
And we’ll let you go gladly, to your well-deserved rest

Over the years you grew smaller, but your heart stayed so big
Now you’re home again, home again, jiggedy-jig

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