Monday, November 15, 2010

My favorite season of the year.

Fall is my favorite season of the year, then Spring. But it is Fall that makes me feel full of life. The cooler weather invigorates me. It inspires me to start thinking about the holidays. The colors of the season are spectacular. It may seem like the end of all things with dying leaves and frost on the grass, but I linger on waiting and enjoying this special moment. I have always been good at waiting.

Maybe, it is the memories of my grandmother cooking and baking. She always began her homemade fruit cakes in fall. You had to wait until Christmas before it was ready. Her fruit cake was delicious. I know what you are thinking, I hear the jokes, but it really was good. Everyday she would saturate it with a little bit of whisky and wrap it back up in the cheese cloth. A little look into the tin, a little smell, a little joy waiting for until it was ready. Did I tell you that I am good at waiting?

I would awake on Thanksgiving morning to the wafting smell of the turkey and dressing cooking in the oven. It was cold in the house because she did not use any heat at night. I slept beneath stacks of home made quilts. She tucked you in at night and you couldn't move from the weight of the quilts. A memory I keep with me always, tucked away in my heart. Always there, ready to remember the wonderful woman that loved me. The wonderful grandparent that I loved so deeply. She was my rock, my foundation, my life. I felt secure with her. I felt safe with her. My grandfather had already passed on, so it was just my grandmother. She was innately strong with wisdom that came from years and years of experience. Not many women are made that way anymore. I hope I measure up in some small way.

Thirty-nine years ago and three days before Thanksgiving, my grand momma and I were watching TV. My sweet husband to be had left for basic camp in San Antonio. I was making an egg sandwich and was back and forth to the kitchen. My mother was an ER nurse and she was at work that night on the three to eleven shift. I remember talking with her about Doc. It was a pleasant night as we watched Hee Haw. One like many others that we had shared.

That night in an moment my life would change forever. I won't go into the details, but my grandmother died with me at home. She died instantly from an cerebral hemorrhage. My world changed forever. I had just completed a CPR course at college and could not do a thing to help her. It has taken me years to forgive myself for not being able to do anything. It was an impossible situation, I realize that I was not in control, but I can't tell you the anguish I felt that night.

Three days before Thanksgiving, momma had never cooked a Thanksgiving meal, but some how by the Grace of God, momma, my sister and I began to cook that meal. It would be unthinkable to not cook the turkey. Grand momma never wasted anything and by cooking it we would honor her. Bit by bit. My job was always to chop the celery, onions, and peppers into finely chopped pieces. That was something I was comfortable with, after all that was my job. That day was but a blur to me, but I remember the feelings, the emotions, and crying. Unstoppable tears. We had buried grand momma the day before Thanksgiving.

People came to the house with food, hugs and salutations and words of encouragement for us. They were kind and spoke of all the good deeds my grand momma had done. I was stunned is all I can say from her death. We always depended on grand momma for everything. She was the rock, the firm foundation, my life. The matriarch of the family.

So as the holiday draws near, I love to remember the woman who shaped me into the person I am today. For years, I was so sad and could barely get through the holiday, until, I had to cook my first turkey for Thanksgiving. I don't often let anyone see my true feelings especially of something that shook my world in such a catastrophic way. It is in the telling of this story that I began to heal. I wish I wasn't such an emotional person, but that is who I am and I can't change that.

Back to the turkey. After preparing the turkey and placing it in the oven, I began to make my dressing. The memories of her dressing I can instantly recall. The smell of it, the texture of it... I felt her presence with me that day. I felt her hand on my shoulder as I mixed the ingredients together. I felt safe once again. I will never forget that day and the feelings. It was heaven sent for just me. Thank you grand momma for loving me for me. You will never know how much that meant to me. Unconditional love. And by the way, the meal was perfect and that was the beginning of my learning how to cook Thanksgiving dinner.

Since 1971, when she died, I think of her often, but especially when I am making dressing. It brings me close to her. This year I am still making my dressing, but I ask my SIL to make her mother's dressing as well. We will enjoy our memories together.

18 comments:

Sandee said...

What a wonderful tribute to your grandmother. They are indeed special. I so miss mine.

Have a terrific day Pam. Big hug. :)

The Bear's Blog said...

Pam,

You are a warm, loving, emotional woman who is blessed in so many ways. You are a masterpiece, one of a kind, you are God's child.

It hurts, and we miss our parents, grandparents, our family members, but it's just for a little while - you know that. They see us and don't want us to be sad. And I believe that they don't want to come back either.

Memories get us through the sad times. They are precious, just like you are. Look at all the joy and laughter you bring to those you don't even know through your Blog.

Blessings, sweet friend

Joyce

Akelamalu said...

Oh my what a wonderful tribute to your granny! You can be sure she's watching over you as you keep the traditional thanksgiving dinner going.

Xmichra said...

This was such a sweet post :)

Finding Pam said...

Sandee, you are blessed to have had a wonderful grand mother, too.
Thank you for the sweet comment.

Hugs back to you.

Joyce, It is just so hard to make it without your family. They are my treasure and where my heart lies.

I hope I make someone laugh out there? You my sweet friend are a rare jewel indeed. Just what I needed to hear today.

Blessings to you and the bears.
Pam

Akelamula, it is comforting to know that they are watching me. Thanksgiving is a blessing with the family we have left.

Xmichra, Thank you so much for the comment.

Gail said...

Pam-

I am moved to tears by this honorable, loving, tribute and memories of your beautiful, strong grand-momma. I feel her through your words and broken heart - I can smell her turkey and dressing already - as you prepare it as she taught you. I love that you had her to shape you and write wonderful chapters of your life story - now engraved in stone and Thanksgiving forever. Amen,

lover Gail
peace......

mielikki said...

What a beautiful post and loving tribute.
Fall is wonderful, and you are a patient person!
Do you make her fruit cake, too?

dawn said...

Oh Pam you brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful way to honor your grandmother!

Finding Pam said...

Gail, sometimes I wonder if I am over emotional? I wonder if other people feel the same emotions that I do. I appreciate your sweet comments on the post. It is such a strong memory for me. She was my dream maker and always believed in me. Something my mother never could say.

Peace and love to you,
Pam


Mielikki, I make her chicken n dumplings,and a lot of her receipes. I have never attempted to make her fruit cake. I have her receipe if you would like it. I am the only one that eats fruit cake with the exception of my sister.

Dawn, I am sorry I made you cry. I know how hard it is. I hope you get my package some time before Christmas. LOL! I hope all is well with you and yours.

Love you,
Pam

Travis Cody said...

This is wonderful. I had a special relationship with my grandmother as well. She's been gone 25 years, but I think of her often, particularly at the holidays.

DeEtta said...

Pam, I was very touched by the beautiful tribute to your grandmother. It is a blessing to have such fond memories of a person who shaped your life in so many ways. She will be watching over you this year and many years to come as you prepare your Thanksgiving dinner and remembering. I could feel the love the two of you had for each other.

I too slept under piles of homemade quilts. It was a secure feeling and I always looked forward to winter and the pile of quilts.

Finding Pam said...

Travis, it is so nice to remember our grand parents, especially during the holidays.

DeEtta, I owe a lot to my grand momma. She was always there for me. My little grand daughter lives so far away and I see her maybe once a year. We solved that problem because now she just calls me and I listen. I listened to her tell me about division and we worked problems together. She is a lot like me in that she is a talker.

Hope you are feeling better.
Love you.
Pam

mielikki said...

My Dad is a fruit cake addict. But he is the only one that will eat the stuff....

Nessa said...

Such a bitter sweet story. Thanks for sharing it.

Rudee said...

Such a beautiful tribute to an obviously well loved woman, Pam. Thanks for sharing.

Finding Pam said...

Mielikki, your dad and I are from the old school where you ate what you had. It is nice to find another fruit cake lover out there.
YOu still don't want the receipe? LOL! YOu would only have to make once every ten years or so. You know how long it last.

Nessa, I appreciate your stopping by and the comment. Memories do last a life time.


Rudee, I wish everyone could have had a grand mother like mine. She made up for my mother in a lot of ways.

mielikki said...

My Dad is not quite up to fruitcake this year. He had chemo and radiation, to his throat. He says nothing tastes good to him, or I would actually ask for the fruit cake recipe....

Jeni said...

When I am cooking certain things, the aroma that comes simply from the basic preparations is one that frequently transports my mind back to years -and events -long since passed. The smells of the onion and celery added to the bread crumbs for stuffing always makes me remember my Mom, Grandma and one particular aunt who almost always was present for our Thanksgiving dinners when I was a kid. And I love the aroma too of walking into a house and smelling bread dough rising because that too also brings many memories to mind of my Grandma baking bread -especially how she used to try to find new places where she could stash her dough, keep it nice and warm and yet, well-hidden so it wouldn't be discovered by me -who would be digging into the mass of yeast and flour for a big old blob of dough to pop into my mouth! Grandma used to caution me all the time that someday eating that raw bread dough would lump in my stomach and make me sick as a dog. It never did and I still do that to this day when I'm baking bread too -can't keep my fingers away from that substance!