For Grandma

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

Over the past 50 years, I’ve had the privilege of being the grandson of Theresa Buckmaster. Although my stories are different from others who knew her I know one thing is true for us all: we love this caring, kind, compassionate, and strong woman. The name Theresa comes from the Greek word for “harvest.” Although she assured me that her love-making took place less than a dozen times, she did have nine children.

Those nine children gave her nineteen grandchildren and those nineteen gave her 33 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. Mother Theresa at 91 lived, laughed, loved and left a legacy for us all. She was a woman who valued faith, family, and friends.

She loved animals, gardening, knitting, and all types of crafts. One of my prized possessions was created by her, a handmade porcelain doll. She passed on these creative talents to her children and then to their children. It is because of Grandma, that I became a mouthpainter.

We all have memories of Grandma; here are a few of mine. Three weeks ago, Gracie and I went to visit her in the nursing home. We talked for awhile, with no response. Finally she said, “I love you, too. My bottom hurts, and I think you should go home now.” It is hard to see your grandma like that, and it stirred up many memories, including Grandpa’s passing. I will never forget the way she stroked his hands during his last days. Although he was a rigid man, he loved my grandmother. I was there the day he passed away and I remember her looking into his eyes as she spoke softly to him.

I remember the trips in Grandma’s trailer from Girabaldi to Wisconsin. Grandma believed in me and on those trips would let me try things that no one else would. She once let me go out in Grandpa’s boat alone in Girabaldi Bay to fish. Unfortunately, the tide changed and I nearly was swept out to sea. However, I remembered their instructions and made it safely to shore.

On another trip with them to Wisconsin, Grandpa was sick, so Grandma drove the Ford Escort with no air-conditioning (thanks to Grandpa’s stingy nature) while I drove in my cool new van. Late one night as we were crossing South Dakota, I hit a deer, crushing the front end of the van. It was Grandma who drove into the nearest town late at night and found the necessary help. I must say, it was scary being trapped in my van on a lonely, dark highway with a deer lying underneath the rear bumper. Not to mention being stuck in the van while it was being towed, bouncing along behind the tow truck.

Grandma was always there for me–she was there for all of her family. She made me laugh and she loved to kiss me. After her stroke it became a little more challenging to get her to her feet in order to “plant a good one” on me. She loved chocolate and during a family gathering, she ended up with chocolate all around her mouth. My brother, noticing this, said, “Grandma, did you kiss Ron yet?” With a big, chocolate-coated smile on her face, she was helped to her feet. I think he did it on purpose, but while Grandma leaned in she lost her balance and fell face-first into my lips. It was a big one, all right, chocolate and all! But I must say, it was the best chocolate kiss that I’d ever received.

These stories could go on and on, but I’d like to share my earliest, fondest memory in closing.

When I was six years old I was crazy about motorcycles. My Grandma Heagy worked hard to keep me from the Honda shop; she thought Grandma Buckmaster was up to no good. But one day somehow there I was, in the show room. The smell of new motorcycles truly excited me. I was told that I could look, but not touch. That’s when it caught my eye; its chrome gleaming in the light. It was the toughest-looking bike I had ever seen. It beckoned to be broken by me. I crawled onto the seat and reached forward to grab the handles. I was riding, blowing slobbery sounds, and imagining places I wanted to be when all of a sudden the front wheel shifted and the bike fell, crashing to the floor with me on it. I was not hurt, but very scared and began to bawl in remorse. What had I done? I felt like a failure. I went to Grandma in tears to confess my little boy sin. However, she knew that I was remorseful and that I had a good heart. She hugged me and I’ll never forget the words she said: “Ronnie, I forgive you. Everything is all right.” “Maybe I could sweep the floor?” I asked. We laughed; it was the first time that I felt forgiveness like that until 10 years later. My life had become a mess and one day my dad gave me a Bible. Reading the Book of John, I found Jesus. I prayed for Christ to forgive me and to become a part of my life. Like that moment of forgiveness with Grandma, it changed me forever.

Little did I know two years later that I would become paralyzed from the neck down. Our faith in the Lord is what has gotten me and my family through the struggles associated with my confinement to a wheelchair. I may never ride a motorcycle again, but even with that immense change in my life, Grandma always made me feel like a million bucks.

She passed many lessons on regarding faith, family and friends. My life would and will not be the same without her. In fact, I will finish what she started. I will inspire and encourage others to pick up where she left off and keep the torch of her spirit alive. The painting below was started by Grandma, but when she could no longer paint, I was fortunate to finish it.


Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother Theresa, you have a great heart. We love you; we miss you and please give Brock, Bruce, Doug, and my mother Theresa a big hug. We will see you soon.

I want to thank all of you for allowing me this opportunity and honor to recognize one of the greatest women in all of our lives. Grandmother Theresa, you have sown a bountiful harvest.

To your inspiration,


Posted in Ron's Thoughts.


  1. Aloha Ron,

    Thank you for sharing your life storeis with me an many others. You are a true inspiration to me and countless others.

    Andrew Schweitzer has your painting in his room. I will never forget how you mouth painted 1/2 of the painting and then had it turned upside down and painted the rest of the picture from the bottom up with you teeth holding the brush.

    God Bless – you are my inspiration when ever i feel sorry for myself. Much love from our family to yours.

    Karl Schweitzer

  2. Thanks, Ron, for sharing your loving & wonderful tribute to your grandma Theresa . . . I love the painting the two of you did, but I wonder if I’m imagining things, or do I see two figures in the upper right? one male, one female?

    In His love,

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