Archives for February 2015

Sundays with Grandma

On Sundays we almost always went to Grandma’s after church – she warned us that she’d be “pushing up daisies” soon – so we better be there. The family matriarch – Grandma was petite, but mighty. She could swing a cleaver down through meat and bone and had no problem lopping off a chicken’s head for dinner.

Our cousins came too on Sundays so she’d be making lunch for eleven. The wives of her two sons (my mom and Aunt Nancy) weren’t allowed to cook, but were expected to wash dishes after, while the men watched football. Occasionally there were mini-dramas – my mom was always irritated that my dad put Grandma first and my normally genial Aunt got so mad once she didn’t come for a month. My Grandma shrugged it off, said my Aunt “had a corn cob up her ass.” Apologies weren’t her style.

Us kids didn’t get involved – instead we hovered as homemade noodles made with lard were being brought to a boil, steaks sizzled in the broiler, and the smell of butter, cinnamon and brown sugar melting into baked apples wafted through the house.

I only saw my Grandma retreat once. She was making her summer treat – fresh sliced cucumbers sprinkled with salt and sugar, sweet and savory – when we heard the sound of wheels on the gravel drive. Grandma looked out the window and saw a Buick park. Two boys in stiff suits stepped out. Grandma shouted – “Jehovah Witnesses. Hide!”

We ducked down and held our breath until doors slammed shut and we heard the car back out. Then my Grandma winked at me and smiled.