This is another mashup, with the regular Writer’s Workshop combining with Wednesdays for my Wife, because Mary suggested this.
Grandma Holton and I, circa 1972 (Photo: Fabulous Auntie Jill)
I talk about Grandma Holton a lot here, mostly because she was such a great person and loved me, and, when Mary joined the family, her as well. She was just that kind of person. After Dad died, Mom considered moving us to California, but decided not to, because she didn’t want to leave Grandma. And I’m happy she felt that way.
Once, Grandma invited Mary and me over for brunch. When we got to her apartment, she and her sister Florence invited us back to the dining room, where she had laid out a spread, complete with ham steak, eggs, coffee cake, hash browns, toast, coffee, and, because she knew Mary liked tomatoes, sliced tomatoes. Now, Grandma and Florence were older women, and many years before Grandma had terrible ulcers and had three-quarters of her stomach removed, so neither of them ate too much. However, there must have been enough food for a battalion there. When I say there were sliced tomatoes, I think Grandma had bought the two biggest tomatoes at the store and sliced both of them. The ham steak was the size I used to buy for Mom and the three of us boys, and there was enough coffee cake to put a person into hypoglycemic shock.
Grandma said, “You two get started, I have to get the coffee. And remember, I don’t want any leftovers!”
Mary poked me after the two ladies had gone into the kitchen. “I’ll work on the tomatoes, you work on the ham.” She knew by then that, when Grandma was cooking and asked if you wanted more, you didn’t say, “No thank you, Grandma, I’m full,” you said “I surrender!”
About an hour later, we finished, and had done a good job of not leaving any leftovers. I was feeling a little bloated, and I’m sure Mary was as well. That’s when Grandma said, “Johnny, I have one egg left. Can I hard-boil it for you?”
I love hard-boiled eggs, and Grandma was the only person I knew who could (or would) make them, but I was stuffed. “Grandma, really, I’m stuffed…”
“Please, Johnny, I have one egg left, and we won’t eat it. Won’t you have it?”
How could I refuse? “Sure, I’d love it.”
She went to the kitchen and put the egg on to boil and came back, and we sat and talked and had a wonderful time. All of a sudden, out in the kitchen, we hear
It startled all of us, even Grandma, who was quite hard of hearing. She sprang from her chair and trotted out to the kitchen. A minute later, we hear her cackling, and she came back into the room with the pieces of the egg.
“I’m sorry, John, but we were having such a good time talking I completely forgot about your egg!”
It’s memories like this that make me realize how much I miss her. They don’t make ’em like Grandma anymore.
from The Sound of One Hand Typing