Thursday, 30 October 2008

Mashed Potato Magic

Granny is gone. She left us last night. I am so glad she’s no longer in pain. So comforted that she’s resting now. But I miss her fiercely. Terribly. The world is a dimmer place without her in it.

She never knew a stranger. She befriended the unfriendly. She took in and took care of everyone and everyone’s plants. Take her a squashed, withered stump of a plant and she’d soon have it healthy and hearty and gracing her jumbled menagerie. I suppose she was much the same with the crazy menagerie of people who came into and out of her life. She patched them up and sent them on their way with a smile on their face and their head held a little higher.

She held every job you can imagine. If a job needed done she was certainly the one for it. It gave one the impression that she knew everything. Wise and sagacious but in a down-home, street smarts kind of a way. The ultimate go-to gal. The world’s greatest ‘domestic engineer.’ I hear the term ‘earth mama’ these days and I think of Gran. She was a foremother to the Earth Mama. Knew every home remedy in the book and passed on the cures and fixes to anyone in need.

She could always laugh at herself, but boy-howdy you knew she was in charge. You didn’t mess with Gran. She’d threaten to ‘slap and ice cream cone out of ya!’ and you’d lay-off whatever you were doing. You’d laugh though. You’d be laughing. She never seemed to dole out shame with her admonishments. Never.

She had an old softie in her too though! I remember my own mama getting after Ellie one afternoon. Ellie was a little less than two and sitting smack-dab in the middle of Granny’s kitchen table with her fist in a lemon meringue pie and half of it already down her front. Granny in classic style said something like, “Let that child alone! I told her she could have it! Tackiest mess you ever saw! I'm glad she's eatin' it!” Granny couldn’t have been more pleased than to watch her beautiful, delicious pie be completely destroyed and thoroughly enjoyed by a happy toddler gobbling it up with her hands.

She always had some project going. As if feeding the brood around her and taking care of Grandpa before he passed away wasn’t enough! Nah. If it wasn’t crocheting it was quilting or whatever other new thing took her fancy. As usual we were all the blessed recipients of her hard work. My Christmas Quilt is one of my most prized possessions and is proudly displayed each year in her honor. Of course it’s not just for display. I love the photos of me with my babies snuggled up under that quilt. Beautiful and practical. Isn’t that just like her.

I remember Granny always with a Styrofoam cup of instant iced tea with Sweet & Low set down nearby. Bleh! Sounds so terrible to me right now. It sure tasted good when Granny made it though. Never wanted to drink anything but at her place. Anything she made was unbelievably yummy. For crying out loud the woman could even make a bologna sandwich taste delicious! Peach cobbler. Apple pie. Divinity. Fruit cake. “Granny’s Goop” with zucchini and peppers and tomatoes. Don’t even get me started about the fried chicken!

It’s funny. I’m halfway across the world. In arguably one of the most delicious countries in the world. All kinds of gourmet delicacies at my fingertips. Somehow though, all I want is a plate of Granny’s fried chicken piled high on the plate with her amazing mashed potatoes and cream gravy. That’s the kind of food that cures what ails you.

Thanks, Gran. For all you’ve given. For the light you shined. For the love you freely gave. For how wanted you always made me feel. For the sloppy kisses. For magical mashed potatoes that made it all alright. You were an amazing, incredible woman. I love you so much, and I miss you like crazy.

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