I like to cook. Well at least most of the time. I learned to cook at an early age, mostly as a self-defense strategy. My mom much as I love is one of the worst cooks I have ever had the displeasure of eating their food. Rivaled only by my grandma, only my Grandma Lorraine could bake. She baked like a goddess and she canned fruits and jams. My Grandpa John had a sweet tooth so she always had something there for him. But, cooking oh goodness. It was almost comical.
If you went to a holiday meal at my Grandma Lorraine and Grandpa John’s house she would make a nice spread. A turkey that she had forgotten about, pasty mashed potatoes or stuffing. Never both because she always forgot one. Plus most of the time if she made potatoes she forgot to make gravy. But, these were fun meals because there was always a lot of family there and that family was great! The desserts were always so good and there were always several different types.
Now if the holiday meal was at Grandpa Egon and Grandma Lorna’s house there was always a spread. My grandpa always did the cooking. I would sit in the kitchen and talk to him and watch him cook. He was amazing. Notice I say talk to him and not with him. He was a man of few words. We were a great pair, a little girl who loved to talk and an older man who loved to listen.
Grandpa’s holiday meals were always a sight to behold. He would make a perfect turkey, and this was before the Reynolds Wrap turkey bags. I admit that I swear by them. Perfect turkey every time as long as you follow the directions and they are never dry. He would make the complete meal. Grandma Lorna would make the pumpkin and apple pies. To me the best part of the whole meal was the prune whip that he made. That was how dinner started with a little dish of prune whip.
Holidays were always happy events. I have many happy memories of when I was a child. I was blessed with a loving family. Yes, there were times that weren’t always happy but I believe I was always nurtured and loved. One of my biggest memories of my Grandpa John was what was a backhanded compliment. When I was a young adult before my grandpa died we became closer than we ever had been. I mean we were close enough before but we had a more comfortable relationship. We could talk about the things that interested me like politics. When I was younger he wouldn’t talk such thing with me I was a girl. He told me that it was too bad that I hadn’t been born a man.
I was greatly affronted by this. I felt it was a great insult. I told him so. He then explained that if I had been born male life would have afforded me more opportunities than it did normally for women. I understand now what he meant but to a young woman it was an insult. The last political advice he gave me? Was that he liked that young guy from Arkansas. He figured that he would make a pretty good president. Grandpa John was right President Bill Clinton was a good president.
One last thought on my Grandpa John. He had been a lifelong Democrat until Ronald Reagan ran for governor of the Great State of California. It seems Mr Reagan (he had not held office at that point) didn’t look grandpa in the eye when he shook his hand and he had a weak handshake. Unlike Governor Pat Brown whom he had great respect. That’s a story for another time.