Unsere Leutenby Jean Bethke Elshtainn’>fr*nA* in^ – « AnThe familiar lane is rutted with two deep truck tracks.n”This always happens when it rains,” I think, andnworry about getting stuck until I remember that the rain wasntwo days ago and the ruts would have hardened by now,nforming a two-lane trail to the farmhouse, Grandma’snhouse, “Grandma in the country.” Grandma is 85; Grandpandied last year, age 87. Grandma knows my daughter,nHeidi, one of her 16 great-grandchildren, and we arencoming, paying her a day-long visit during one of ourninfrequent trips home. Home is Colorado; home will alwaysnbe Colorado. As Grandma would put it, “So that’s thenway it is.”nBecause our visit is anticipated, the kitchen will bensuffused with rich aromas: the famous rye bread; thenrenowned chicken soup with “butterballs” (made of finenbread crumbs, held together with “real” cream and butter,nmolded into two bite-size nuggets, set afloat in goldennbroth); the notoriously delicious “Revel Kuga” (a sweet rollndough crust, topped with fresh cherries and a butter crumbnmixture). The aromas are as I expect them to be, as I havenexpected them to be for as long as I can remember.nGrandma, her back permanently bowed over from theneffects of hard stoop labor in the fields, all those years ofnJean Bethke Elshtain is a professor of political science atnVanderbilt.n16/CHRONICLESn•^.nt^s^a^asF,* •nnnbending to hoe sugar beets, her gray hair cut short now asnthe bowed back makes brushing long hair and winding itninto a bun difficult, greets us with a hug, a kiss, and thenrepeated words, “So good to see you. So glad you couldncome. I love all my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.nAll.”nHaving fed us, Grandma shows us the collection of quiltsnshe’s made since we were in Colorado last year. Her quiltsnget bolder, positively psychedelic, with each passing year, asnif advanced age and the nearness of death have released anlong dormant romantic dimension in her soul. She asksnHeidi to pick out the one she likes best so she can take itnback with her. Heidi whispers to me, “I already have sonmany. Oh well, this one is so beautiful. I’ll use it as anwall-hanging at Pratt.”nThen Heidi and her great-grandmother move to thensewing table. Out comes the familiar sewing kit. Heidi isnurged to pick out “any buttons you want” and to select bitsnof lace or anything else that “might come in handy” for hernown sewing. I don’t sew so I stand by and watch thendiscussion of the honorable craft of creating things of beautynand utility to provide envelopes for our bodies or warmth fornour beds. I glance at the wall and notice the baptismal,nconfirmation, and wedding certificates and the citizenshipnpapers, the markers of a long life lived in intimate communionnwith others. I mark once again Grandma’s pride andn