It was always my favorite piece of advice. It always came directly after a complaint of the weather. But the best part was that it related to everything. Bad day at work? Take it as it comes. Bad grade on a test? Take it as it comes.
She was many things. We joked around and called her EC 14 and “The Oldest Living Buehler.” We called her mom, grandma, the chicken lady, the master chef, the green thumbed lady, and best of all, she was known as Grams.
We knew that we were in for two things when we were headed to Grams’s. We knew were going to eat like kings, and we were going to learn something new. Most of those new things we would learn would be about life during the depression and the opening of Buehler’s Fresh Foods. Arguably a large part in the store’s success, Grams was proud to say that “We added it up by hand and no one ever questioned my addition.” (That was right after I didn’t add something right.) She proudly wore the title of “Oldest Living Buehler” and was always eager to share a story about when “Daddy built the store.”
I sat in a scholarship interview this past year. My friend and coworker Buckeye Bob Simmons asked me who I admired. I hadn’t prepped for that one, but Grams came to mind. I told the story of how she overcame adversity and raised four girls after divorcing her husband. Buckeye Bob found the way to condense that entire story. He called her a “Mold Breaker” and he hit the nail on the head. To this day, I don’t have another short way to describe her.
Grams was an advocate. Not for a certain cause or movement. Not an advocate for a party or a person, but an honest advocate for the right thing. We hear a lot today about Women’s rights. We hear a lot specifically about women in agriculture. Well, Grams had a viewpoint. It what a male-dominated foodservice industry, Grams opened her own catering business, and it joined forces with Buehler’s Fresh Foods. She didn’t complain, she didn’t protest, she did it.
The do-er Grams was the biggest “Agvocate” and FFA supporter I had ever met. We all heard about “the farm channel” where she could watch the National FFA Convention and Expo where the boys had the “whitest of white shirts, and the blackest of black pants.” Weather it was gardening and chickens, or sheep and cattle, she aways reminded us that there was nothing wrong with learning to farm, even for the girls.
Grams wanted the world to be united, fit, and accomplished. We all got told we had “too many hamburgers” or “you need to eat more!” One of my less-fond memories was having what looked like rotted seaweed snuck into my perfectly unhealthy sandwich as a child. Looking back, I certainly appreciate what she was trying to do, but I still don’t like seaweed hamburgers. We always sought the Grams seal of approval. Every friend and significant other was put through The Grams Test to see if they earned the stamp of approval. Mind you, several spouses started out without it, including my old man.
One of the biggest lessons of lessons I could learn from her was “never ask someone to do something that you couldn’t and wouldn’t do yourself.” I have been pretty fortunate to be in some amazing leadership positions that have allowed me to lead some of the best people on the planet. I always tried to keep this in the front of my mind. You’ll find that at the root of many of the things I do, you’ll find Grams.
Today, we lost Grams. Grams the advocate, Grams the fighter, Grams the oldest living Buehler, Grams the Mold Breaker. I appreciate everyone who has commented, texted, or said something. I’m a firm believer that we can all take a lesson from Gram’s playbook. But above all else, be kind to one another and remember to take it as it comes.