This Christmas season I find myself thinking about my grandparents that have passed away. My step-grandfather, Jim, passed away last century. My maternal grandfather passed before I was born, so Jim was the only grandfather I knew in my mom's family. My maternal grandmother passed a few years ago. My paternal grandparents both passed this year. All of them were dear to me and made every visit feel like a special occasion for me.
I remember visiting Grandmommie (my mom's mom) and she always made these wonderful holiday meals that were very southern. Jim made the best pumpkin pies and also the BEST strawberry and rhubarb pies in the summer. We would beg him to make a pie when we visited! I still remember how he used to bend down and hug me every time I came, treating me like the most special girl. His hearing aid used to beep when he hugged me and he would tell me that it was an alert that a pretty girl was near. The house always smelled wonderful and they had a whole room dedicated to the Christmas tree. I suppose it was a living room. It had a baby grand piano, a beautiful sofa and chair, an old-timey music playing set up that could play vinyl records or the radio. And it always housed the Christmas tree in December. Even in summer we called it the Christmas room because that's about all we ever did in that room--open presents.
Grandma and Grandpa's house was entirely different, but just as welcoming. When I was little we went to Grandma's house every Sunday for "dinner." This was a big family meal every time. More serving dishes on the table than you could almost fit. Grandma made all kinds of chicken and roasts. She always had green beans. And she always had mashed potatoes. One sight you could count on always seeing was Grandpa mashing the potatoes in the mixing bowl. Grandma did the cooking, but Grandpa always mashed the potatoes while us kids ran all over the house whooping and hollering. Every meal was finished off with one of Grandma's cakes or pies. She had "the birthday cake" that was an amazing chocolate concoction with a perfect white icing. But my favorite came to be her Italian cream cake. It was almost as good as my mom's carrot cake.
As you can see, food is a bit of a central part of my holiday memories in my grandparents. There was much more to them, but food is always comforting. I'll try to include some more memories soon that aren't centered on food, but today I found myself thinking about Grandpa and potatoes, which inspired this memory.
How do you remember those who have left this life?