Over the last few days I have been taken on a trip down memory lane. The reminiscent memories of childhood things. This for me is a bittersweet journey. There were many happy moments during my youthful years but the majority of them were tainted with brokenness and struggle.
Single mothers do the very best they can, but poverty, generational dysfunction and the burdens of life took its toll on our daily existence.
As I thought about trying to filter out the sad or the difficult and hone in on the more pleasant things I am challenged, my natural tendency is to focus on all that we did not have, or could no do, but the treasured memories that I have read about in some of my blogging friends do not involve anything beyond a simple trip to the grocery store or a daily trip to the beach with their Mom.
As I thought about my treasured memories, of the days when things were good I'm brought back to something very simple as well.
When I was a little girl my grandparents lived in Columbus Ohio. I am not sure how my mother was able to afford the trips but there were many visits’ to Grandma and Grandpa’s over our summer vacations.
Aside for the 12 hour car ride, even that was at times pleasant with the car games we would play and the rest stop picnics, but once we got to Grandmas it was always such a wonderful expectation.
There was always a ham in the oven, a gallon of vanilla ice cream in the freezer and a box of Super Sugar Smacks in the kitchen cabinet. I remember sitting at the kitchen table watching my Grandma fry eggs for breakfast. She had a large flat top cast iron griddle and she first would cook the bacon and then fry the eggs, you did not worry about cholesterol in those days. She would fry the eggs right in the bacon grease and skillfully take her spatula and flip the hot grease up over the eggs to cook them perfectly. The toaster was on the table and grandpa was in charge of keeping in loaded and passing out the hot toast.
We would sit side by side in the built in kitchen nook and look out the window at the birds coming to the feeder outside the window for there breakfast as well.
We would talk over breakfast about what we had learned in school or what other plans we had for the summer, my Grandfather would sometimes pay us a dollar to count to ten for him, he was intrigued by our southern drawl, we hammed it up and really drew out the syllables as we recited the numbers and then pocketed the cash.
After breakfast once all the dishes were cleared away I have so many wonderful memories of Grandma sliding into the kitchen table with a bowl of fresh peaches, apples or strawberries. I would sit across from her and watch her as she would peel and slice whatever fresh fruit she had on hand for our desert later that evening.
Sometimes the fruit was simply sprinkled with sugar and served over vanilla ice cream, other times it was baked in a cobbler or pie or turned into a wonderful fluffy creamy layer cake. I was fascinated watching her as she would peel and slice. I watched in amazement as she would peel and entire apple and never break the peal. I remember the day I stood in my kitchen and held out an apple peal all in one long curly strand before my daughter and felt a wonderful sense of completion.
We had breakfast and lunch at the kitchen table, but dinner was always in the dinning room. There was always a white table cloth with flowers from my Grandma’s garden in the center of the table. The table was always set, knife and spoon on the right and the fork to the left, with the napkin folded into a triangle under the fork. We all had real glasses to drink from and the food was served in big beautiful serving dishes.
I have those dishes today and they sit displayed in my china cabinet. I bring them out on special occasion or just when I want to feel closer to my Grandma.
We would all sit around the big dinning room table, it seated as many as 12. There was a large bay window with lace curtains adjacent the table and a sideboard for her serving pieces as well as a china cabinet.
We would all gather at the table for our evening meal. My Grandpa at the head of the table Grandma to his left (that was strategic as this was the closed seat to the kitchen) and my Great Grandma at the other end of the table from my Grandpa.
It was always simple and delicious food, but it was abundant and for us it was such a treat. My Mom was a hamburger helper girl, she had to be with time and budgetary contrarians, but at Grandmas we had name brand cereal, 7-UP in tall cool green glass bottles in the refrigerator, long curly strands of apple peel, fresh peaches, hot fragrant ham in the oven, creamed peas and a never ending supply of hot buttered toast.
Thanks, “My Hands…His Glory” and “At the End of the Day” for spurring this trip down memory lane.
I really needed it!