Farewell GGG

mcville-main-streetMcVille, North Dakota was settled in the 1880s on the open plains of this beautiful state. Among the oldest settled parts of the state outside of the Red River Valley, the small community was relocated in 1906 to meet up with the Great Northern Railway. 

And in the winter of 1913, it became the birthplace of my maternal grandmother, Grace Moen Thrailkill. Born of Norwegian parents, the headstrong girl thrived among the hands that worked her father’s wheat ranch. She loved horses, wide open spaces and growing things. It was from her I learned to garden and crochet–and along with my mother, she nurturmcville-schooled my love of story.

I grew up on the history of her town, the school she attended, one uncle’s general store and another uncle’s bank; her father’s work with agricultural scientists to develop and grow a new strain of amber durham wheat. I heard all about the first horse she rode bareback, the occasional visitor from the nearby Sioux reservation, and how her mother cooked for a dozen ranch hands three times a day and served them on fine bone china. Great-Grandmother Julia felt the men’s manners would be better if they ate off nice dishes. Her “everyday” sugar and creamer set hold a place of honor in my office.

My very firslutheran_church_of_mcvillet western romance was written in honor of my grandmother, shaped by the stories she shared; in fact, the heroine was her. And Grandmother and her personal history still influence my writing.

The mother of three, grandmother of six, great-grandmother of four, and great-great-grandmother of one, Grace dubbed herself GGG, for great-grandmother-Grace, when my brother’s oldest son was born. From that day on, she signed cards and letters, even the Christmas ornaments she painted as gifts for all of us, with GGG.

Grace left this life a few days ago, after more than 96 years on this earth. I’ll miss her wit, her temper, and her zest for life and learning. 

Goodbye, Grandmother. Rest in peace. I’ll see you again someday.


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17 thoughts on “Farewell GGG”

  1. What a lovely tribute to a fiesty, frontier gal and true family woman. Thanks for sharing this bit of your personal heritage with us, Tracy, and may the memories you hold of her continue to bless your life.

  2. You know what came to my mind when I read this, Tracy…the saying: When an old man dies, a library burns down.

    Your grandma lived through amazing times. So many stories, so much history and she was a witness to it.

    My Mother in law is ninety and lived on a Nebraska ranch all her married life. She remembers switching from using horses to tractors farming.
    She remembers when electricity came.
    She lived through WWII and the rationing and the deaths of so many young men.
    Movies were huge.
    No TV, the neighbors got together weekly at someone’s home to socialize. All the children went outside to play and the adults drank coffee and played cards and talked.

    Thanks so much for sharing about your grandma. I’m so sorry for your loss. What a great, long life she had, but somehow it’s just never enough.

  3. Ah, Tracy. You made me cry. There’s nothing quite like being close to a grandmother. They bring such love into our lives. Inspiration, too! I bet your grandma was as proud of YOU as you are of her. Treasure the memories. Great-Grandmother-Grace lives on in your thoughts and your books.

  4. Tracy, this is so touching. I can feel the deep love you had for her. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I hope that remembering all the things about her that drew you close will be a source of comfort. I never got a chance to know either of my grandmothers and I’m regretting that immensely.

    I’m looking forward to more of your books and stories that you bring to life on the printed page.

  5. Tracy,

    This really moved me. A sense of being along is in your heart. Remember one thing Tracy, your grandmother walks with you everyday on every path you may walk. Her love and understanding will never die, for she lives within you

    Walk in peace and harmony,

  6. Thanks everyone for the kind words. GGG was an amazing woman, a teacher down to her bones. I think that’s why her stories became such an integral part of those I tell. When she taught you something, you remembered it. 😀

    “When an old man dies, a library burns down”
    Mary, this is exactly how it feels.

  7. My condolences on your loss, Tracy!

    We never really lose those who leave us, they
    live on in all they taught and shared with us.

    God bless,
    Pat Cochran

  8. Your grandmother GGG sounds like a wonderful woman. She will be with you always, and thanks to you, her stories will live on. Think of all the changes people of her generation lived through. My condolences, and thank you for sharing your memories with us.

  9. I am so sorry for your loss, Tracy. She sounds like a wonderful woman who had a full life and shared it with all who knew and loved her.

    She was well loved by those who knew her well. There’s little more one can ask for.

    Thank goodness you had her in your life. My heart goes out to you.

  10. I’m so sorry you have lost your grandmother. It sounds like she was a very special lady. You were lucky to be able to share her life for such a long time. It sounds like she taught you to appreciate life and your family history. How very special that she lives on in your books.

  11. I’m sorry for your loss, Tracy. I think grandmothers are the most wonderful people ever. I was very close to my own grandmother and lost her over 20 years ago, and I still dream about her all the time and miss her every day.

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