We’re upstairs, sitting on the floor where she had made us kill a wasp earlier that day. She’s lying on that floor, waiting for us to measure her, and above her. The ruler we brought for the purpose makes our conclusion less accurate than what we’d get with a tape measure, but we make do with what we have.

1 Samuel 17:4 – And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 

What’s a cubit? Well, we should get the encyclopedia and find out. A cubit measures from the tip of the middle finger to the bottom of the elbow on an adult man. A nebulous way to measure things, but being exact never helped a story. So Philip and I take the ruler and do the best we can, measure her, and above her, and find out how tall Goliath was. How tall Goliath is.

She doesn’t realize, and neither do I, but she makes the Bible come alive for me that day. In actuality, based on earlier texts, Goliath’s height originally measured about four cubits and a span. But we don’t have the Septuagint at hand, so we do the best with the text we had. Six cubits makes for a better story, anyway.

When I tell her about that day, years later, she says she forgot all about it. What a gift from God, she says, that I told her about this forgotten day, and what that day meant to me. My first thought is a bit selfish, because God didn’t tell her, I did. But really, she’s thankful for me. I’m her gift from God. I think. That idea makes for a better story, at least.

She died last night. She had a tough life, and needed stories to survive. They carried her through to the end. Her faith and mine diverged in many ways over the years, but she still passed on a love of the Bible that burrowed into my brain and made a home there.

I love you, Granny.