Grandma doesn’t talk these days. Went to see her last week, hard to say what she saw. Ever since…The doctors keep saying—seems she’s doing alright, considering. Put some music on her record player, not sure she liked it. Impossible to read what she’s thinking. Has to be something though, she’s aware to some degree. Can see it in her eyes, that twinkle of hers. Might have smirked, can’t be sure. Could have been shadows.
Remember when she’d cook all day for the Christmas and Thanksgiving? Goodness. Whole house full of baking smells. Still get a whiff when you go into her kitchen. Like walking back in time. Oh, god. Those sticky buns she made, you remember those? We’d smell them from outside, playing on that rope swing. Come running in, try and get our fingers in the batter. She was too quick. Smack our little hands, shoo us away. Tell us we had to wait until we had real food. Mashed potatoes, ham, turkey. Green bean casserole and homemade rolls. Everything was homemade—from scratch.
You ever go to the grocery store and see a bag that says Homestyle on it? They’re liars, wouldn’t know Homestyle if grandma shoved it down their throats. She got her wheat from a framer a county over, ground it herself with that…You remember it? Out there for an hour cranking away. Dad tried buying her that electric one, don’t think she even opened the box. Probably still in the attic.
Before dinner she’d put out two punch bowls. One for the kids, one for the adults. You remember when Rachel got some of the adult stuff? We were so excited, figured it had to be amazing. Couldn’t understand why they kept it up on the mantle. Why did they want it warm, there above the fire? Our was always chilled. Your face when you had a sip—we died. All of us had a few sips. Didn’t she get seconds too? Oh…Oh, you’re right, she went back three times. We couldn’t stop giggling at dinner. Mom and dad asked what was so funny. And Uncle Benny, still think he might have had an idea. Asked him about it a few years ago, claims he doesn’t remember. Aunt Clara sure doesn’t, she was clueless. Probably had a few glasses of punch herself by that point.
But grandma knew. Had that twinkle in her eye. Doesn’t do much these days, but that twinkle is still there.