What a feisty, amazing lady you are, Gram.
I can see you, climbing into Pappy’s little
red and white ski boat after getting breakfast
at Black Meadows. You have on your
Bermuda shorts with a matching sleeveless
blouse tied in a knot just above your tanned
flat belly. You laugh as Pappy swats at your
rump to get you in the boat. So many lake
days with summer heat, cattails, and
spitting watermelon seeds straight
into the shallows, eco footprint be damned.
Your hair is puffy and slate-colored, like the
metallic parts I imagined you working on in
the machine shop when you were younger.
And then there were Christmas mornings
since forever with those biscuits of yours
that you tended carefully after Pappy was
gone. You could make them with your
eyes closed, softly kneading the dough
then baking them in recycled Marie Callender
pie tins. That was back when they actually
were heavy and made of thick tin.
I have one still, you know. I was trying to
recreate those biscuits just this last weekend,
and realized that the pan I was using had the
big stamped MC in the center. I flipped it
over and sure enough there was your mark, an
A inside of an O, painted on with one of those
rich rum nail polishes you used to wear.
It startled me at first to see you there, on the
bottom of my biscuit pan, but there you were.
We have watched you struggle
to stay, feisty as ever, these past few months.
Aching for you as we watched your heart
break a little more each day. All of us so
helpless not knowing how to mend it. I was so
sure that you would finally feel safe enough
to let go, so long as you could remember
that Pappy is right there waiting to help you into
the boat, to swat you on the behind, and
make you laugh, and be yours again.
So I will keep making your biscuits…
but I am still working on them.
I think, more butter is the answer.
More butter for the biscuits,
and more sugar for the jam.
And of course, the right pan.
Safe trip, Gram.
I love you.