Do you still get those annoying chain emails that ask you simple questions and your job is to answer them as creatively as possible before sending it on to the next person? I’ll admit when I’m needing a break, I will still complete the questions at times with the silliest answers I can think of at the moment. For example, one recently asked the usual, 1. Name…which I put my nickname as a high school student (that I will not list for the world to see). 2. Work…and so forth. Two questions actually made me cry. Both were simple really, as one asked “favorite childhood smell.” My serious answer, “coffee and onions.” The following question was “favorite childhood activity.” My serious answer, “baking bread.” I wonder how many people associate the aroma of coffee, onions and baking bread as favorite childhood memories. If I had to pick the best part of my childhood, I would easily list these memories. I had the pleasure of growing up near one set of my grandparents. We were neighbors. Every Saturday morning I waited anxiously for a phone call. Every Saturday morning I received that call. I can still hear the sweet voice on the other end. “Anna,” my grandma would say, “come give it a good punch!” which would be followed with her silly laughter as I hung up the phone and raced over.
The back door was always open playing sounds of my grandpa polishing his gems in his rock room before I reached the house. The aroma of coffee brewing since 5:00 AM hit my nose before I reached the sink to wash my hands and take the towel my grandma patiently held. I then would turn to the table to perform my weekend task. Sitting on the table was a large ceramic bowl with risen dough all but spilling over the sides. I climbed in a chair to stand over the bowl, push up my sleeves and give it a good punch. Every Saturday it was the same routine, and every Saturday my punch received a loud, heartfelt laugh from my grandma. We would kneed the bread together and talk about the important stuff in an eight year old’s life. I remember spending my Saturdays with her, watching her, learning from her. I was always amazed by her hands. She was a tiny woman, with crooked, arthritic hands, but those hands were her eyes. They glided gracefully over everything providing the vision she had lost long ago. She could do anything in her kitchen. She knew how many steps to each area in her home. She even knew where her large dogs normally lay. I watched her prepare for the day as I chopped the onions for my grandpa’s lunch. (He had onions at every meal). I always giggled when she took a giant step over the spot (directly in front of the sink) where the biggest dog normally lay; however, on Saturday mornings, he wasn’t there. He slipped out each time I slipped in through the opened back door. Each Saturday was the same, and each Saturday I couldn’t wait to get that phone call.
As more time passes in my life, I spend more time thinking of our weekends together. A few years ago, I found a picture of my grandparents. It was a beautiful picture of the two of them in their last years in this world together. My grandma sat with her big brown eyes looking in the direction of the camera. She was laughing. My grandpa sat next to her, but he wasn’t looking at the camera. He was looking at her, smiling a smile full of love. He loved her with all of his being. We all did. She made it easy to do. She overflowed with love…..like the risen dough spilling over the sides of the ceramic bowl on her kitchen table.