Two things in the past week have reminded me of my patrynomic grandparents.
First, my aunt dropped off some pimento cheese spread, homemade, and according to my grandfather’s recipe.
When grandpa made pimento cheese spread, it was an occasion. I suppose it represented the family’s southern roots, although we were not really in the south. (My Michigan cousins called me a hillbilly, but they had a warped point of view.) I loved eating those cheese sandwiches, and no purchased alternative ever measured up. But my aunt’s batch was just right, and I thought of grandpa while I ate it on toast.
Second, Carol bought some black raspberry jelly from the store, probably because of a discussion we had sometime.
My grandma made me my very own little batch of black raspberry jelly every year when I was a little kid. Not blackberry, but black raspberry. And not jam, but jelly. Big differences.
They had lots of raspberries, but only a small patch of black ones. Grandma made gallons and gallons of raspberry preserves from the red ones. But I preferred the black ones, and I didn’t like the seeds. I was the oldest son of the oldest son, so I probably got catering service.
Grandma set aside the the black raspberries and made jelly, just for me. I can remember the joy of removing the paraffin layer from the top of the jelly in a new jar. I remember the smell and I remember the taste. These days I rarely put anything other than butter on my toast, but in the olden days there was nothing else like grandma’s black raspberry jelly. Made especially for me.
Now, I may not have received such individual attention, but I really think I did. (I ask my cousins to leave me to my delusions.) But when I opened the jar of Smuckers Simply Fruit Black Raspberry Jelly the other day, all the childhood stuff came flooding back to me all at once. I’m sure grandma’s jelly was better, but this was pretty good and also pretty good at triggering memories.
Right now, I’m thinking about how soft grandma’s lap was. The softest lap ever.