For-tune n. 6. fate; lot; destiny; whatever my fortune may be.
I switch off the small Walkman and contemplate what I’ve just heard. The conversation took place 26 years ago, thankfully recorded by my niece. I had not known of its existence until a time when we discussed the family research I’ve been doing and she offered to send me the tape.
Grandma had her first child at 14 or 15 (probably out of wedlock), married, had a second child at 18. Her husband was abusive and, although they lived on an isolated ranch, she somehow found the strength to leave him. By 1900 her family had moved to Helena, where she supported herself and two small children by working as a cook and housekeeper. She was all of 21. She divorced her abusive husband, met and married my Grandpa. They had a baby boy who died at two weeks of age; he had been named after Grandma's father and her then husband, my Grandpa. Four more children followed, the oldest of whom was my mother. Sadly, this marriage also ended and she continued to help support her large family by raising chickens and running a dairy. She later raised at least one grandchild. Surely, Grandma knew what it was to be ostracized, poor, and hungry.
But there was something else - Grandma was a devoted Christian. Her children were baptized and my mother attended a catholic school. I believe she also knew God and I’m sure He saw her through a lot. I’ve heard the stories - she always found something to give.
Crusty and tough as she was, I wish I’d known my Grandma better. I now think I have at least some understanding of her and the legacy she left. Thanks to you, Grandma, and Mom who followed - I live my fortune, whatever it’s gonna be.
The Lord will keep you from all harm -
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.