Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Grandma

My Grandma O. is one of the greatest women I know. She has never done anything spectacular (and if she did, no one would ever know, because there is no way she would ever let anyone know it). She has gone about her life, loving her family, and spending her time serving those she loves. She lives a quiet, simple life. She and my Grandpa live in the same house where she raised her 5 kids. She loves to ride in the car, and more than once she has been caught wearing slippers out of the house.

I love my Grandma more than I can explain. Her house always felt like a haven. I have so many fun, amazing memories of her home. Many of my strongest memories of my Grandma are of her cooking. She cooked, and cooked. She hosted countless family dinners, and had the most amazing food. She would cook for days, and sometimes weeks, to prepare for our feasts. No one ever goes hungry when my Grandma is around.

My cousins, Aunts, and Uncles almost all lived in the same city as my Grandparents. Our family, living an hour away, were the "far away" ones. When we came up to visit, we were the ones that got to stay the night, and because of that, I think we often saw more of the prep work that she did than my cousins. I wonder if some of my memories are very different than my cousins, because we were the only family that stayed over. Cousins, who read this blog, please chime in. Did you all ever experience the wonder of her french toast? My mouth waters just thinking about it. Do you remember her freezer covered in pies? I doubt that you remember her boiling dozens and dozens of eggs to be hidden at Easter. What are your favorite memories of her?
Today, I was making potato salad. Potato Salad is one of her classics. Her specialty. She is famous for her potato salad. It was good, is what I'm saying.

Anyway, as I was cutting my potatoes, I was just completely flooded with memories of my Grandma. She was right here, in my kitchen, helping me cut these potatoes. I did it just the way she would have.

I sat in a chair with the bowl in my lap. A flour sack dish towel thrown over my shoulder.

I put all my potatoes in the bowl. After they were diced, I just put the diced pieces in the bowl on top of the unpeeled potatoes. When I was ready for the next potato, I would stir it around a little with my knife and find the next one to be peeled.

I peeled them by holding them in my hand, and pulling the peels off with my paring knife.

My Grandma also liked to drink a Diet Coke now and then. I'm keeping it authentic.

After my potato was peeled, I make one slice down the middle of the potato. All of the slicing is done while holding the potato. And while being very patient with your Granddaughter who is staring at you the whole time asking you exactly how you boil a potato and why you don't use a cutting board.
After my horizontal cut, I made several vertical cuts in the potato.
Then, turning my hand, I used my knife to gently dice the potato. Manuvering my hand to accomodate the shape of the knife and make sure the cuts are complete.

I let the pieces fall into the bowl, giving a few extra chops to the last few left in my hand.

Today, I missed my Grandma. I wish I didn't live 3,000 miles away. I wish I could drive a short, short hour to visit (why did that one little hour seem like such a long trip to us then?). I wish I could pull out her soft, timeworn blankets out of the really high shelf, wrap up in them and play solitare. I wish she was in the kitchen, cooking potato salad. And her macaroni shrimp salad, and the 7 layer cookies. I wish I could run and play in the backyard, daring myself to make the 2 foot leap of faith to go from sitting on the fence to sitting on the low roof. I wish I could sit in the room with her and the adults, listening to their stories and conversations. I wish I could hear her laughter. I wish I could give her a hug and tell her how much I love her. I wish my kids could know how wonderful she is.

I'm not sure why these thoughts and memories are overwhelming me today. Maybe because she was just here for a visit, and I got to talk to her, not nearly long enough, but enough to be reminded what a wonderful person she is. Maybe simply because I will never be able to make potato salad without thinking of her. I can only hope that I can be as humble, loving, and patient as she is.


Emily said...

Wow! I am sobbing like a baby. Thanks. Just kidding. She is a pretty amazing, ordinarily fabulous woman, right? I have always felt that about her, just her love and comfort made her a woderful grandma, just knowing she was there and no question if she loved us or not! and the cooking....stop it! I don't think we "saw" all of the prep work but we knew about it and saw the fruits of her labors. What an amazing woman, cooking for days on end just for us....seriously, the love. Luckily, I have had the opportunity to be able to do grandma's hair. I feel so lucky to go over to her house 1 hour a month and get to be alone with her and talk to her and just "hang out". I have heard countless stories from her that I'm not sure she has told a lot of people. I feel so lucky to have that bond with my grandma that I don't think anyone else has. I think about her often and thank my lucky stars that she's my grandma and am lucky that my kids know her, too. Although, not as well. Maybe they will get a little taste of what we knew!! Some of my favorite memories is sleepovers, cheese and cracker packs and the "8" year old trips. Man, we had it good. I hope some day to be just like her! Although, I'm certain that's not possible....sorry for the novel. You just sparked something I've been thinking about for a while. We are lucky people to know her!!!

Emily said...

p.s. if you have a recipe for "grandma's potato salad" GIVE IT TO ME!! She always says, it's my taste. That's not how I cook.

Kelly said...

I love this post. It is funny how the little things we do remind us of the people we love. It is so true.

Shanna said...

Emily, she talks all the time about her "personal hair dresser"! I know she loves having you come over. And I don't have her recipe- it is no use asking for recipes, she "just does it". I think my mom might have one, I will ask!

thetallgrl said...

Grandmas are so special. My grandmother (Tutu) just passed away in January and I'm having a hard time dealing with it. It was so nice to read your blog and remember that everyone has great memories of their grandmothers! Enjoy her as long as you can.

Adam and Lisa said...

Funny how doing "nothing spectacular" can make you an incredible person! The childhood memories of that orange checked tablecloth, so much food you can't even think about finishing it all are combined with my memories from college. Grandma always remembered everything I told her. She'd ask how my test had gone or how I was getting along with that one roommate that drove me crazy. And one thing that continues to amaze me. She never forgets a birthday for her kids, son/daughters-in-law, grandchildren, spouses of grandchildren, great-grandchildren. And the cards are never late. Not ever. That to me is pretty spectacular.

Adam and Lisa said...


Melinda and Matt said...

yeah--grandma is amazing. When we lived close while Matt was in school we went over there so often---she helped me can pears and peaches so I could use them as baby food for Caroline. When I was in college i could call them anytime for a ride to their house....she always made you feel like you had done them a huge favor by coming to visit them....when you were really the one getting the benefit.

Cecilee said...

Grandmas are amazing. I too wish I could be closer to mine.

Merilee said...

Everyone has "the best grandma ever", but hands down...she is The Best! I love all of the cousing comments, I can relate to all of them. I love and admire grandma more and more each day. She is the best grandma ever. I have some of the fondest memories of going over to her house for anything, and she alwasy had a little hidden treat for us! She always did and does make you feel special. She never did anything grandeous, but it was and still is amazing! I love this post!

erika said...

Hmmmm.....7 layer cookies? Send that recipe MY way!

Your grandma sounds like an awesome lady.