|I was so annoyed that they all fell except for the one on the right. It was appropriate because no one will ever make them as good as she did.|
After hearing of her passing early this morning I started picking over memories that I have of my Nanny D and am not surprised that most of them involve food.
For years, every Sunday after church we would go to Nanny and Granky's house for lunch. The table would be set with blue Willow ware and no matter what meal, there was always a dish of her homemade butter pickles on the table. During the summer months, there were fresh cucumbers from Granky's garden sliced up and doused in apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper.
It was a glorious thing to be woken up by the smell of her homemade blueberry muffins on sunny summer mornings at our family camp on Schoodic Lake.
After my grandfather passed away, many of our Sunday lunches were spent at Helen's Restaurant in Machias. Nanny loved her seafood, and all the waitresses knew that she was allowed to have whatever size of any dish she wanted. She loved fried shrimp on top of fettuccine Alfredo, crab stuffed haddock, scallops, haddock with egg sauce, and fried chicken. Chocolate Coconut Graham Cracker, Coconut Cream, and Lemon Meringue were on her favorites list for Helen's pies. But like me, she would've eaten any piece of Helen's pie that was set in front of her.
I remember the day my grandfather died, I stayed the night with her. Her body had been through so much taking care of him in the months before he died, and she was tired. She slept soundly. I did not. The street light was shining through the window and I was sleeping on Granky's side of the bed. It was one of the weirdest nights of my life. I stared at his handsome military picture on the wall and I cried. I would miss him but it was absolutely devastating to me that she would have to live the rest of her life without him. It is one of the cruelest things about life. That we spend a lifetime loving one other person, living for them, caring for them, and then are expected to pick up the pieces and move on when they leave. When I think about it, I can hardly breath. Life is harsh.
I remember the day that I told her Evan would be stationed in Clayton Lake and that I might stay Downeast in our house and go and visit him every other week. She looked at me like I had five heads and said, "Well of course you won't do that. You will go and live with him and be his wife." It was very matter of fact to her, and I was smart to not argue with her that day.
|Halloween 2013 Mustache, cigar, and blaze orange. Perfection.|
I am inspired by her attitude in the last few years. She was a trooper. If she did any sulking it certainly wasn't around any of the people who came to visit her. She had every reason to sulk. Her body started to fail her years ago. One of the things that will haunt me forever is that she was not able to swallow or really taste her food in the last year.
She was steadfast in her faith and it kept her going. She always dressed nice to go to church. I don't remember her singing much, but I knew she liked me to sing. I loved standing next to her and belting it out. I would have to sing for both of us and I was just fine with that.
Today, everything I do will remind me of her. She was a spitfire. She was sassy and had an adorable smirk that paired well with the attitude. She was funny and witty, and at times she was as stubborn as a mule. She was old fashioned like most of her generation. Her nose turned a little towards the sky at my nose ring and tattoos...but only in the kindest way. I can't remember a time when I heard her say a bad word about anyone. She was always smiling and always laughing, even on the worst of days. She had such an awesome laugh. I am so thankful for the woman that she was and for the wonderful example she set. Not many people are able to say that they were able to have a great grandmother in their life for 25 years. Like Granky, she was a staple of our large family, and it will not be the same without her. She will live through the memories she has left with her 3 daughters, 8 grand children, 23 great grandchildren, and 3 great great grandchildren.
A scene keeps playing through my mind. Granky is in heaven hiding behind the pearly gates...as she walks through he jumps out to scare her or throws something at her....and she will scream, "Oh honestly, Lawrence!!!" I like to think that there will be a huge heavenly buffet (not an earthly buffet because I hate those), and she will eat and be able to taste and savor and swallow every bite. That sounds a little like gluttony...I don't know how to make it sound any different. There must be food tasting in heaven! And the whole time Granky will be as silent and sneaky as he always was...putting cucumbers in her mashed potatoes and salt and pepper in her milk, and stand a knife right in the middle of her slice of cake. He was always wild at the dinner table.
Today I am thankful for an outlet. Writing this has been a huge stress relieving, grief therapy session for me.