Grandma Was A Creationist and Fundamentalist, but I loved her anyway, as all children love grandparents.
My Grandmother was a highly religious Protestant. She was a sweet and loving person, too gentle to ever say an unkind word to anyone. She lived with us until her death. She was always there for me and I could tell she loved me very much and my family and I loved her. I have many fond memories of her to this day. She was born in a small prairie town in Western Canada before Charles Darwin published his world shaking book so she knew nothing of Evolution. It was better that she nothing of it because her religion was vital to her happiness.
I wrote this poem in the voice of child. It is based upon actual circumstances and expresses my feelings at that time. I remember sitting next to my Grandmother on our sofa in my family’s little apartment, while she read bible stories to me. Even at the tender age seven I had problems in believing the stories. Bible stories seemed to be equivalent to fairy tales, Santa Clause and the Easter bunny. I knew dead people can’t climb out of their graves and return to their families as Grandma said; I knew a man could not be swallowed by a big fish and survive like Pinocchio and Gepeto. Further more, I always loved animals and snakes were of special interest. I thought they were beautiful and fascinating creatures. On vacations in the country my dad caught little garter snakes and let me handle them. I remember how much fun it was when he put one in my shirt and let it slither around and eventually exit though a sleeve. So, when grandma told me about the evil serpent in the Garden of Eden I resolved to change her mind. In my innocent attempt to convince her that snakes were not evil I searched through National Geographic magazines, Life Magazines and anything else I could get hold of. I cut out at least a half-dozen beautiful colored photographs of snakes and laid them on her bed. As you might expect, my mother was not amused. She may have thought I was being a nasty kid, but I was not. I did my best to convince mom of my good intentions but I doubt she ever believed me. The following poem pretty much expresses my childly reaction to the biblical Creation story.
Sitting Next to Grandma
While sitting next to Grandma as she read to me I could tell she loved me, it was plain to see.
I watched her dear old face as she told me how God made the earth for us, it was her solemn vow.
It all began as a void with waters vast and deep. Then light was made before the sun; the Lord was really neat.
I never quite could understand how this event could be, but Grandma read it from the bible that very night to me.
And then God made the heavens but that confused me so, for where had He been before He had a place to go?
Next came land, then plants according to their kind, such wonders of creation really blew my mind.
But, I will never understand, no matter what they say, how plants could grow as they do, without a sunny day.
But that’s exactly what Grandma read to me from the holy book, it was plainly there to read if I would only look.
Then God made the stars and the planets in the sky. The sun and moon soon followed, again up very high.
I wondered just how God made the light several days ago before the sun existed, there was much I did not know.
All kinds of birds were next and every fish with fin; even a few sea monsters He claimed to have thrown in.
The Lord saw that all was good and was so very proud that He created the animals next from His heavenly cloud.
Grandma said He made all life, so He must have made bacteria, those nasty tiny killers that live in my cafeteria.
Then Grandma read a verse that really made me wonder, “Let us make a man to live on the earth down under.”
Who was this us? I asked Grandma, surely she would know. Are there other Gods, as some do claim? I really want to know.
Grandma said He had some help from angels with great wings. Why, I asked, did He need aid from such outlandish things?
I then asked Grandma if God looked just like me, and did He have an organ that He used to pee?
Or was God a lady and did She have to sit whenever She began to feel that it was time for it?
Grandma stopped her reading; she turned a shade of red. I thought for sure that she would decide to send me off to bed.
She thought a while and then proclaimed, “Of that I have no opinion!” She soon went on and read some more, all about dominion.
We rule the beasts upon this earth and in the sky and sea. He commands us, she did say, to subdue all we see;
to be masters of all creatures and use them as we wish; to cook them up for all our meals, they make a tasty dish.
But when the Lord had worked six days, he was so very tired. He had done, with winged help, all that was required.
So, He blessed the seventh day and took a well-earned rest, satisfied, no doubt, that He had done his best.
Grandma put her bible down and looked at my young face. She believed in all that she had read, of doubt there was no trace.
But in my mind at that early age I just could not conceive how the stories that my Grandma read could really be believed.
I went to bed that very night and thought about creation and wondered if they believed that story in every other nation.
Do all good folk believe the book she read with such conviction, or do they read from their own books of faith and superstition?
Now that many years have passed and I have learned so much, I look back upon my youth and Grandma’s loving touch.
Although she believed with all her heart, she really did not know the truth about how life began and how it still does grow.
She thought that God had a chosen few and that the end was near. She did her best to instill in me that belief she held so dear.
She tried to teach me to fear God and of the sin I bear, Adam’s sin passed down to me and all of us to share.
What Adam did with Eve that day they falsely had been blamed, for if God had made them what they were, they did as He ordained.
So now when I think of Grandma’s God and His threat of hell, I know it’s just a fairy tale that works, as does a spell.
When I have kids like Mom and Dad, I’ll make sure they have, a true idea about their lives, both the good and bad.
Thank you Grandma for being you, and for loving me. You made me think about this world and who I soon would be.
Author’s confession: OK, I admit some of my current adult views may have snuck into this poem.