Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Grandma Connection

A couple days ago, my sister called (the fabulous Jeri G., who has her very own day [see previous posts]), looking for a specific cookie recipe.

Now, I haven't done a lot of baking in recent years. I shouldn't be eating a lot of sweets - should anyone? - and I hadn't dug through my old recipe box in ages. But I knew where the box was, and I quickly found the recipe she was asking for.

In the process, I ended up thumbing through stacks of yellowing 3X5 cards, some written in my much-younger scrawl, some in my sister's precise backhand, others typed in an effort to appear more organized than I really am. There were cards from old friends, random acquaintances, even one from a former sister-in-law. (She went away, but I kept the caramel corn recipe!)

And some of those cards were printed at the top with "A Recipe from the Files of Alice Nouguier." Those gave me pause. Alice was my grandmother, who passed away in August. I had my issues with her, as many of us do with our families, but she was my grandma, and those cards reminded me of some of the good things we shared over the years - her favorite recipes among them.

Grandma was 95 when she died, the youngest of four children. Two of her siblings died in the couple years before her, so an entire generation of our family has disappeared in a short while. Suddenly, my mom is the oldest in her generation, as I am in the generation that follows. Now we are the grandmas.

Those yellowing recipe cards are a connection to a generation that exists only in the memories of those who loved them, and I felt an overwhelming urge to dust off the cookie pans, break out the measuring cups, and remember - even for a little while - the connection we all have as daughters, mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers.

As a result, today the people in my office are sharing Orange Caramel Cookies, and Gumdrop Bars, and I have plans to commit Uncooked Fondant this evening. I will pack up a box of goodies to share with my family when we get together on Saturday, and I plan to enjoy the treats my daughter is bringing - she's got some of those cards of her own. The connection continues, each generation carrying forward something from the generation before them.

I hope to leave my children and grandchildren some yellowing 3X5 cards to remember me by. It's one of the little things that makes us family.

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