July 22, 2013
Lessons at grandma’s
By Arthur H. Gunther III
For a child staying overnight at grandma’s, the sounds of a kitchen are never forgotten. It is always an adventure to sleep away from home for a four year old, and a grandparent’s house is a special place, full of treats, nooks and crannies in which to seek adventure and a sanctuary from routine. Even a child needs to get away sometimes, if only to grow a sense of security.
And security comes at grandma’s. She has snacks for the youngster and perhaps too many hugs, but such is love, and it is reassuring and certainly remembered more fondly in later decades.
Each grandmother’s house has its idiosyncrasies, as does every child, every adult, and that’s another lesson to be learned at grandma’s. The child newly awake not in his or her regular bed hears a cupboard door creak open, and he knows that breakfast is coming. What child does not want breakfast? We wake up hungry, the child in all of us.
Then the youngster gets a whiff of pancakes grilling, and he can already taste grandma’s brown sugar, honey, vanilla and extra egg in the mix. Oh, and those blueberries, too.
The youngster is thus encouraged to get out of bed, forget the slippers that grandma is always telling him to put on — splinters on the old wooden stairs, you know — and bounce on downstairs to the kitchen where he will sit in that very big chair that will always be huge in his mind, even at age 70.
His grandma will go to the metal spice cabinet tucked away at the top of the cellar stairs and take out what she needs for a pie to be prepared as the grandson eats his pancakes. He will never forget the sweetness of that cabinet, its door held open just a quick moment. He also notices, if only out of the corner of his eye, his grandmother’s kitchen competence and confidence, another lesson.
Life unfolds on another morning in grandma’s house, one so precious that it seems it might burst into a thousand pieces of china but which actually proves so durable that all through life, grandma’s early attention is indeed a form of building security in what can be a tough world for all of us.
The writer is a retired newspaperman.