Amy Byres

Believe it or not, the Observer’s most loyal readers live in a small town in Idaho called Salmon.

Those readers have the Observer specially delivered to them every week. Those very special readers are my grandparents, Grant and Mary Harbour.

My grandpa stays well informed on the news, and my grandma stays well informed on any news I write.

These two have been very supportive throughout my career and education.

My grandma was in hospice care in Idaho. The reason is not COVID-19 related.

Unfortunately, although she has left hospice care, she is still not doing OK, and my family is going to see her. Given the state of the world, my family has made arrangements with hotels and other services to make sure we are able to get to Idaho and see her.

This is an upsetting time for my family, but I have a comfort my grandma taught me. She has equipped me with a vital ability to play checkers.

When I was 6 years old, I visited my grandparents during the summer in Idaho. A few nights a week, they went square dancing. My brother and I would get to go with them and watch.

Grandma wore this great big skirt that would flare out whenever she spun, and my grandpa dressed in his cowboy hat and boots.

We would drive to a ranch where they would square dance. There was a checker board in a room full of deer heads hanging on the wall and leather couches and wooden chairs. I sat at a table with a checker board in front of me.

I would play with the pieces and stack them on top of each other until my grandma came over to teach me. We would play about three games and then head back home.

We did that every time we went square dancing. I became very good at checkers, and it is my favorite game to this day.

My grandma is a very special lady, and I think of her every game I play.

Grandmas teach their grandkids the fun things in life — the things that help them get through hard times. So I hope everyone stays safe and inside, and plays a game of checkers right now.