April 23, 2011

Donuts, Tang & Grandma

Easter week brings us so many reasons to celebrate but this year my family's celebration was tempered by my Grandma Dorothy's death on Tuesday. Grandma was 91. And the past couple of years were tough ones, as family has watched dementia slowly take over her mind and wear down her body. Not an easy thing to see happen to someone you love. I remember what Grandma was like before the dementia and for that I am thankful. And those are memories that I will treasure.

So Grandma, you may be gone from this earth but you are in my heart. And I thank you for the many great memories, such as these:

  • Grandma's cooking. Grandma was a good German cook - and if you ever left her house hungry, it was no one's fault but your own! She was always happy to feed you and there was always plenty.
  • Christmas cookies. Every year I looked forward to going to Grandma's to frost and decorate cookies. And Grandma never cared if you licked your fingers. And if you got a hankering for a Christmas cookie in July, there was probably one in the freezer just for you.
  • Crafts. I think the 1970's was the decade of the 'crafts' and if there was pattern for it, Grandma made it.  We did macrame, made covered wagon's out of egg cartons, spray painted giant dandelions, made dolls, dogs and hats out of beer cans (I still have one!!)  We crocheted, knitted, quilted, sewed... I know that all these projects at Grandma's house are part of why I still love to be 'crafty' today.
  • Afghans & Doilies.  My Grandma was a wonderful crocheter and made probably 100's of afghans and doilies.  And some of the most precious items in my boys' memory boxes are the blankets and booties she made for them when they were born.
  • Salt & Pepper Shakers.  My Grandma owned a lot of salt & pepper shakers.  And by a lot, I mean around 700 pair.  Guess what she always got for Christmas and on her birthday? 
  • Canasta.  I grew up playing cards at Grandma's on Saturday nights.  I still love a good game of cards.  (And just so you know, the way we played at Grandma's was the right way.)
  • Root Beer and Tang.  Grandma always had Tang at her house.  A few years ago I was craving the orange drink, so I went out and bought some.  Blech.  No matter how I mixed it, it just tasted nasty.  Who knew Tang only tasted good at Grandma's house?!?  Also, if we asked 'nice', my cousin AJ and I would get to share a can of Root Beer in her really cool red and white polka dot glasses.  AJ always made sure we each got exactly the same amount - sometimes pouring and re-pouring what seemed like a hundred times until it was 'perfect'.
  • Grandma's driving. (Tee-hee.) Grandma was never in a hurry to get anywhere.  I remember driving with Grandma to Minnesota to see the relatives.  I know that at least once we were passed by something that oddly resembled a turtle.  At lease Grandma never had to worry about getting a speeding ticket!
  • Cakes.  My Grandma was also a fabulous cake maker.  She made wedding cakes for people in our community for years and promised me that someday she would make mine, too.  By the time I got married, Grandma had stopped making cakes because her hands just were not as steady anymore and she said I better find someone else because she had 'lost her touch'.  I told her she better find it again because she had one more cake to make - and she did.  One of my favorite memories of my wedding is remembering that Grandma made my cake.
  • And last but not least, Donuts.  My Grandma made the best donuts.  In fact, her donuts got her the nickname "Grandma Donut" - dubbed by my firstborn son, and her great-grandson, Christopher.  When I made Chris's scrapbook, this is one of the things I knew I had to include in his album.

I love that story!  It always make me smile.

And I just want to say, Grandma Donut, thank you for all the cookies, all the Tang, and all the memories.

Your grand-daughter,

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