My grandma was not the type of grandma to bake. I can remember very few times her showing us recipes or cooking. She occasionally have me mash potatoes or check on rolls in the oven, or make homemade noodles. But she wasn’t the baking grandma type.
She was though, the memory-keeper type of grandma. The photography, Ansel Adams type. It didn’t matter what we were doing, she would take pictures of it.
The bookshelves are lined with photo albums of photos that she’s taken. There’s a picture of me making hot tea. I’m standing by the microwave and I can remember, just like it was yesterday, her telling me to turn around and smile holding a random mug. Every homerun derby that we had in their backyard with my cousins was captured for posterity. She took pictures of me performing songs and plays on her front porch with Eartha, the world’s most disgruntled cat. One time she had me climb up into their maple tree because my yellow sweater matched the exact shade of marigold that the leaves had turned into that fall.
Every thing was a memory. Every picture went into the album and we poured through them at family dinners.
Mim and Paw Paw showed up to every family dinner with particular items that were specific to our likings. She catered to our tastes and remembered our favorite things. So for me, she would always make her peach cobbler. She taught me how to make it one time and one time only, then told me the reason she didn’t share recipes was because she felt like then she wouldn’t be needed anymore. Later in life as she aged though, I began making the peach cobbler for family functions to make her proud of the traditions she entrenched our family with. And then we’d pose for a picture with my favorite dessert and my favorite grandma.
During Mim’s funeral, I read the eulogy and it was a poem by Henry Scott Holland called Death Is Nothing At All. His words have become a mantra for me about her.
He writes :
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
And amidst all of the uncertainty of the last few weeks, we are trying to cling to the known, the certain, the comfort.
We want life to be the same as it ever was. So as we headed to my sister’s for a family supper, i thought about that sense of comfort and I brought with me all of the ingredients to make the infamous Mimmy’s peach cobbler.
The kids helped and listened to the way that Mimmy instructed me. But we overflowed the sugar and spilled the milk. We sloshed peaches on the table and under-stirred the mix. But the words of my Mim flowed out of my mouth, “They didn’t mean to...”
And in the end, it was delicious and so much fun despite the buzz of the world outside those walls.
“Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.”
And we have pictures to prove it.