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Food Conjures Nostalgia

I am stuck inside today, in my office, working.  The earlier mid-day sprinkle escalated to an honest-to-goodness afternoon rain shower, which we desperately need.  No complaints.  Listening to the little stream gurgling away along the gutters outside my office window, it occurs to me that a cup of coffee pairs well with rain showers.  And so does an enticingly, sweet cookie.  Sadly, it’s been so hot that my oven has not been even on “WARM” for weeks now, so fresh cookies are only a distant memory.  However, in the snack drawer is an unopened package of square, soft, short-bread wrapped figgy pockets of loveliness (no name brands mentioned on this blog).  As I add the sugar and cream to my coffee and grab 2 fig cookies, I suddenly remember my Grandma White, who was my mom’s mom.  She was the oldest lady I ever knew, as well as the most independent, always loving, quietly tough & resilient farm widow that I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.  She lived just up the road from my childhood home, so mom and I walked up there every other day or so when I was small to “check on grandma”.  Grandma really didn’t need much checking on, but since all of her children lived close, they all popped in quite regularly.  When it was summer time, and her little kitchen was stifling (who had air conditioning back then on a farm?), she would keep those same little square pockets of shortbread-wrapped figgy goodness in her pantry to offer all of us guests who so often dropped in.  Grandma White actually gave me my first cup of coffee when I was around 5 (half milk, half coffee and lots of sugar).  My mom, my grandma and I (age 5) all sat around Grandma’s kitchen table together and talked about the goings-on around Lafayette (the village I grew up in) just like the grown-ups always did in farm kitchens.  But this time was different because I, too, got to participate on the social committee of our lives.  I walked on air for a week, knowing that I was the only grandchild who was grown enough at 5 (that I knew of) to have coffee with grandma & mom and discuss important, grown-up things. . . .

That memory is as fresh today, 40 years later, as the day it happened.  Both grandma and mom are gone now, but memories like that keep us close in the heart, where it matters.

I hope that all of you readers have something in your lives that gives you that same sense of family, love and tradition that I am blessed with from figgy pockets of loveliness and creamy, too-sweet coffee on a rainy afternoon.

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