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December 12, 2007 / allyo


I was sliding christmas cookies off the sheet and on to the cooling rack earlier today and thinking about how many thousands of times my hands have performed this exact task. I miss my grandma about every other second when I am baking for the holidays because it was her thing. For Christmas and Easter especially we baked the same things, and every year she derived the same amount of pleasure out of the ritual as she did the year before. Christmas meant cut outs using my great grandma’s sugar cookie recipe that I hated. (It just occurred to me that this was her first husband’s mother and is the only thing I’ve inherited from my “real” grandfather’s family.) Anyway, it tasted and felt like cardboard and I always wanted the soft, sweet pilsbury dough type. But for her they were the perfect foil for icing made with milk and powdered sugar that was stiff and tooth-achingly sweet. Growing up it seemed like there were hundreds and hundreds of cookies to ice each year and it was something of an insult to be forced to decorate them, as I didn’t even like the end-product. Plus, I always went for realism – and was always foiled by the impossibly stiff icing – and she just wanted icing and colored sugar. I remember one year my best friend in high school came over to help and together they worked to slowly drive me mad by putting together increasingly ugly combinations of icing and sugar color combinations. It was the only time I recall her enjoying something so tacky, or messing with me just for the fun of it.

The missing is bittersweet because I’m missing our relationship that ended many, many years ago before my mother became her #1 daughter again. Still, last year the missing was sharp and painful and I cried through most of the baking so bittersweet, I’ll take it.


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  1. Austina / Dec 13 2007 10:37 am

    Yes the holidays certainly do have a knack for pulling at our heartstrings. I will always remember driving from my grandparents house, after eating, to my great grandma’s house on Christmas Eve. My grandpa would take the road on the Lake and we would look at all the beautiful homes, mansions really, decorated in their Christmas lights. It was magical. They drove a burgundy cargo van at the time and I would sit on the hump between the two front seats… SAFE?!

    My grandpa would talk to me as he smoked his cigarette out the window driving. I really do miss his persona in my life. Such a strong, loving man with humor and love underneath. We all miss him dearly and he has been gone now since I was 16. I love that memory of sitting between my grandparents listening to his unmistakable voice. I even love how his hands were yellowed by the cigarettes. I miss that or the way he said my name.

    This is what we remember, the snap shots of a scene, a soundtrack of their voice, their smell, their smile, or furrow, or the way he laughed when I blew air farts on his belly!

    I only wish my children to hold memories so dear close to their hearts and the time to make many, as I did.

    Hugs to you as I know the memory is fresh and alive within.


  1. Still thinking about Christmas cookies - yum! « many good things

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