Sunday, April 3, 2011

Legacy

 Legacy
                                                 By Jane-Ann Heitmueller


“Look Tom,” I said. “Remember this red and green apron? She always wore it to serve Christmas breakfast. And here’s the pretty pink one she used on my birthday. Your blue plaid one is here, too. She saved them all!”

  My brother and I, now adults, were tackling the chore of disposing of our grandmother’s possessions. Although she had passed away nearly three years ago, we had only recently gathered the courage to face this sad, yet necessary chore.

   Sitting Indian style on the wooden floor in Grammy’s large country kitchen, we opened and emptied cupboard drawers   and cabinets, spilling the contents before us in a mountainous heap. What we had both dreaded, on that cold winter morning, gradually began to immerge as a joyous, healing process.

   “Oh, my goodness,” exclaimed Tom with a wide grin. “What a wonderful discovery! Grammy’s sweet roll recipe, written  in her own handwriting.  We need to make copies of this for our kids, so they can learn what delicious rolls Grammy made for the family every Saturday morning.  Everybody in town loved to see her coming to their doorstep with a pan of those hot rolls. It was almost worth being sick or having surgery to be rewarded with Grammy’s treats!”

  “And look at this.” I remarked. “ Here’s the big, yellow bowl she always used when she made strawberry jello.”  The bowl, now stained pink from years of use, brought to mind the sweet taste and rubbery texture I had once so enjoyed  at Grammy’s round, oak  kitchen table on  those bright, summer days of  childhood.

 “ I wonder what  became of  the old butter mold Grammy used when she made butter?  Remember, it had a cut out of a cow on the bottom and when she had finished churning the milk she always let you press the butter into the mold. I really  wanted to do that, but she never let me!”

“I know,” Tom remarked. “But you were the one who got to stir the batter for Grammy’s Christmas  Coconut Cake. Boy, how yummy that tasted? What do you suppose ever happened to the heavy wooden spoon she let you use?  Grandpa whittled that spoon for her the first year they were married. It must have stirred five hundred cakes when we were growing up. I bet I licked a billion calories off that thing.  Maybe we’ll run across it this morning.”

 Working our way through the entire house, Tom and I   surprisingly found ourselves almost giddy with excitement, eagerly anticipating what special gem might be revealed at each turn. We searched closets, boxes, under the beds and high on overhead shelves, in hopes of discovering items that delighted us and   rekindled our memories.  Throughout the day we laughed, cried and rejoiced in our joint and individual fulfillment. We were children again, reliving those sweet, happy years. Years that molded us into the adults we had each become.

   As our adventure progressed, we were surprised to discover the hour had grown so late. Long shadows, splashed across the kitchen walls, reminded us that it was well into the afternoon and in our eager tenacity we had not even stopped for lunch.

  Looking around us at all the family treasures and stories we had unearthed, Tom and I realized tears were streaming down our faces, yet smiles had replaced the glum demeanor we  had both possessed earlier that morning.  My brother reached his large, calloused hands toward me and encircled both of my own with tenderness and love. “You know, Sis, Grammy  had  a special reason for saving all these things. She knew that when we saw them again they would become so much more than just material things. She has left us a goldmine of memories and love.” 

                                     *****************************

Those long forgotten scenes of life, securely tucked away,
lie dormant, until they're retrieved on  some far distant day.
Their beauty and  significance, discovered in full light,
though we remain a spirit soul...
 forever gone from sight.

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