Wednesday, August 12, 2009

All That Is Left...

This is pretty much all that is left of a family dinner that my grandmother prepared last night. She phoned me early afternoon and said she was preparing dinner for my mom and her husband, Lee - did Greg and I want to come? I told her I would check with Greg, and she said, "I don't know what you and your momma will eat (mom is diabetic - I have a corn allergy). I'm fixin' green beans, corn, sweet potatoes and a lemon pie." I asked her if I could bring some chicken, and she said, "Well your momma is bringing ribs. I told her I would just go out and get some ribs, and she said she already had ribs cooked." (How did Mam-ma think she would "go out" and get ribs? Mom says she never mentioned getting them to her... Mom offered to bring ribs, and Mam-ma accepted.)

I called Mam-ma back to tell her we would come for dinner and that I would bring some roasted chicken breasts, and I had checked with my mom, and she said she would take Mam-ma some potatoes to cook (Mam-ma's comment was... "I only have 2 Irish potatoes.") We hung up, and Mam-ma called back ... "You can't eat cornbread, can you?" "No, but that is okay," I assured her, and she said, "Well, now... I'm gonna make a pan of rolls, too." Now, for those of you who make homemade rolls, you know what a process this is! Granted, the more you do it, the faster you become, and Mam-ma has done it for 90 years, probably, but it's the stirring of that stiff dough that gives us trouble... and for someone nearly 97 with limited arm strength, it's a definite challenge - or should be. But as you can see, the results were light, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth delicious... and she sent the leftovers home with us! Yippee!!!

Call #4 was to ask if my sister and her husband were babysitting grandson Timmy. I told her I didn't think so, and I asked, "Can you not reach them on the phone?" She replied, "Well, no, but I haven't tried... I wondered if they would want to come to supper, too." I told her to call and ask them, but... "do you have enough food?" She said, "Well... I don't know... but if we don't, at least we'll all be together." When we arrived, not only were my sister and her husband there, but my niece Jasmine and baby Timmy were there, too... and we had more than enough!

Such a seemingly simple thing as a family supper... such a day-long chore for the woman who prepared it. Mother and I cleaned the kitchen as Mam-ma tottered in and around us, finding containers for a "dab" of this and a "dab" of that to save as leftovers. I showed her the leftover roasted chicken breasts and broth I had brought and suggested she combine all of the vegetables with the meat and create a stew... a dish she seems to be enjoying of late because she can chew everything in it. The dentist says her jawbones are eroding after years of grinding food with her dentures, and her "teeth" now slip and slide and create blisters on her gums frequently. So she likes soft foods that are easily chewed, and the stew is hearty and nutritious for her. Mam-ma put everything into the refrigerator individually, but hopefully she will make a stew today.

One day I think that my grandmother is declining... and she is... and then I look at all she still does for "96 and a half," and I am amazed and bewildered... and extremely grateful. As she sat and held Timmy in her arms last night - all 15+ pounds of him - and never faltered, I thought, "Her arm strength may still surpass mine!" I was reminded that hard work is good for the body - and the soul - and we must never quit! I probably need to make more rolls... but then, that perpetuates the need for even more "work!"

So it was a good evening. We gathered, we ate, we played with the baby. We were together, and truly, it was enough.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Wow... those rolls took me straight back to my grandmother's kitchen. Glad you had a good time just hanging out with the family. It is amazing what some elderly folks can still do even while they seemingly complain about little things.