Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Memories of Grandma

Inspired by Mocha Dad's Know Where You Came From post, I've decided to re-post this, from January 2008:


I remember very little of Grandma Draeger (my mom's mom). I do remember her delicious chicken and rice dish, the marathon Scrabble games she and her daughters played, and the time my sister Judy got caught in the rope swinging in Grandma's barn and was swinging by one ankle! (We were so scared we'd get in trouble!) I also remember that Grandma loved roses; those real, and those in a can.

I remember more about Grandma's house; the farm. There was an old, dilapidated outhouse beside the garage, and we "city" kids delighted in using it, even though there was a perfectly good toilet inside the house! There was a tiny, charming kitchen inside the house, and a big walk-in pantry. Grandma's house was full of healthy, flowering plants; clear evidence of her "green thumb" (something my own mom inherited from her!) Her many flower beds outside were a sight to behold.

This is part of the foreword I wrote in our first family cookbook, which I organized in 1993, when Kyle was just a baby. I was 12 when Grandma Draeger passed away, and as I got older and became a mother, I felt a strong need to know more about her. I had 34 cousins, most of whom were older than me and had lived closer to Grandma in Oconto, so I asked them (and my siblings) to send me recipes and memories of Grandma for a cookbook. They did not disappoint. As the recipes and memories flowed in, I got a better glimpse of what she was like. But, while some gaps began to fill-in, I still felt a deep need to know more.

Then one night, I had an incredible "dream." Grandma Draeger came to me and took me back to her farm when I was a young girl. We picked flowers, went for a walk, cooked, and talked, spending the day together, just the two of us. She was very warm, loving, and she made me laugh. I felt very comfortable and loved, and when I woke up, I was filled with a sense of peace and joy like I had never known. It was as if Grandma's spirit knew I'd been seeking her out, and she wanted me to know she is here. I have never had such a touching dream, nor one that felt so very real.

Thank you, Grandma.

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