“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake.”
- Francis Bacon

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

When we bake Grandma's cookies, the love she left behind warms us again

There are times when brand new, never-been-used is wonderful, exciting and grand. And there are times when well-worn, often used and very familiar is just the best way to do something or see something or share something. My mom isn't with us any longer but she left behind a legacy that is re-lived, shared and cherished year after year during the Christmas Season. Memories of my mother are recalled and talked about and lovingly remembered around two kitchen tables, with eager and bright little ones gathered 'round, all because of something she left behind that lives on, and will continue to live on, for decades. Little did mom know that the time spent in her 1950s kitchen would have such a profound and deep impact on her family and most notably, her grandsons...my sons.

Each year mom would make the most delicious German Sour Cream Sugar Cookies with "just right" icing, not too much and not too little, somewhere right in the middle, always perfect. Everyone - all relatives, neighbors, our priest and close family members - absolutely adored those cookies because they had such a delicate flavor and texture, pillow soft and feather light with a rich, buttery aroma.

Normally kids gulp down holiday sweets going from dish to bowl to platter not paying much attention to who made what; not caring about good table manners but always eating and munching, sometimes wiping powder sugared lips on a handy shirt-sleeve. My sons - my boys - would always gravitate to my mother's sugar cookies leaving all of the other ornately crafted holiday treats behind. Dave and Jeff didn't care about cute cookie cutter shapes, or colored frosting, or fancy decorations. All they wanted was my mother's cookies and all my mother ever wanted was to watch those two, little boys sit at her kitchen table with a glass of milk and a dish of her cookies. She'd lean against the back of the kitchen counter wiping her hands on her apron and she'd smile, just a little smile, at a pair of small men-in-the-making, lapping up her cookies. Watching people enjoy what she created in her kitchen was one of my mother's greatest pleasures. Whatever came out of that kitchen of hers was not only a work of art, it was filled with her love and she loved to love...always.

Mom is gone now but my boys hold her Christmas sugar cookies as "the" standard for a holiday sugar cookie. In two homes, with seven little children (4 in one and 3 in the other) to help, two men take the time to create memories that will live on long after they are gone. They take the time to tell little ears about loving memories of a tiny woman they called "grandma"; bringing her to life once more as they take butter, sour cream, flour, vanilla and other kitchen goodies building a priceless foundation that time will never, ever take away...not as long as that cookie recipe is in the hands of my sons and their children and their children and their children.

Thanks mom. I love you and I miss you and I hold dearly all you have left behind. No diamonds or jewels or stocks or bonds, but a piece of your heart and a view of your soul.

1 comment:

Nola @ the Alamo said...

Isn't it wonderful how they leave us all those wonderful memories? I wonder if they knew how important it would be to have something to hang onto after they left this world.
Thanks for the kind words you left for me. It's hard to know how to act anymore, when everything's changed; now more than ever I need my parents' advice and guidance, but I feel so all alone. I just keep going back in my memory to find the right thing that Mama or Daddy would say to "make it all allright"; it's tough, but I know that time will numb the pain.