I am driving down a road I have traveled hundreds of times when suddenly my grandmother appeared.
Not so easy since she died in 1996. But there she was, traveling along with me. Well, she wasn’t exactly there, but her smell was. Sounds odd and not so flat
tering, but to say fragrance would be incorrect, and odor just isn’t the word either.
What permeated the car was the smell of mothballs, bad German cooking, and old. And I mean that in the most endearing way. My grandmother was not a rosewater type of woman. I almost had to stop driving as this was so unsettling, even if there was a level of comfort to it. What was it in that moment that made her presence so present? Was I in fact dead and didn’t know it? If that’s the case then I am really okay with death as everything so far appeared to be the same as life
As time stood still for those few moments it got me thinking back on being a kid and going for visits to my grandparents’ house. Thank God that is finally a good memory, now that it is hazy, distant and has been rewritten. Not to say I didn’t love them, but they were old and not much fun from day one; not like today’s grandparents who are hip and cool, and surprisingly my age (how did that happen by the way?) The photo attached, however, captures a spontaneous moment of fun, dancing to Kool and the Gang at their home in Leisureville (you read that correctly), Pompano Beach, Florida back in the 1970's!
Dinner at their home was terrifying because my grandmother was not a cook by any means. I think it was just a duty for her to make sure her family stayed alive. Everything tasted stale, smelled musty or had freezer burn. And those were the days of Swiss steak, round steak, liver and onions and numerous other horrid meals that can still break me out in a cold sweat if I dwell too long on them. I hate to not be appreciative, but I’m just not. My mom inherited a husband whose taste buds had not developed beyond spaghetti, and she embraced him as a full-time, lifetime project to get his palate developed to a socially acceptable level so they could go out in public. I suppose on the flip side though it might be one of the things that inspired me to take on cooking full force and really embrace the culinary arts. Can I send her a thank you note in heaven?
Speaking of heaven, I know she is there because she was such a genuinely kind and caring person and as full of faith as she was of Sauerbraten. It saddens me to think that she's in heaven though as I know I won’t be seeing her, what with my track record and all. I am at peace with this however, and as long as I can have the occasional visits with her while I'm driving along I know we'll always be together...