Goodies with Granny
Goodies with Granny
Granny always had goodies for her grandchildren. She started with my cousin Sonny, who is six years older than me, and carried on with the four of us, who rarely missed a day visiting with her and Pop. Aside from the days when our parents were present – when we collaborated with Granny on an elaborate set of signs to indicate that the time had come for her to present us with an invitation for snacks and Cokes in line with the etiquette we had been taught – we were free to go to Granny’s kitchen on our own and help ourselves to her goodies. We would typically engage in conversation for a few minutes before giving in to the allure of whatever delectable goodies awaited us in the kitchen.
Granny love to bake, so Granny’s goodies usually consisted of a homemade cake or pie. She convinced me early on that a crumbled cake was a tastier cake. The evidence from her body of work never contested that, so I am still prone to dive right in to a less-than-perfect-looking cake. Granny’s apple pies and chocolate pies are still the best I’ve ever eaten. Her chess pies, replicated incredibly well by my Aunt Sissy, were amazing. I could go on and on….
There were levels in my mind to Granny’s goodies. Cakes and pies were certainly top shelf, and cookies were right up there, too. Sometimes, though, we had to settle for something a little lower on the goodie grade. I remember pudding Jello-O (with fruit cocktail, of course) as occasional substitutes for the best stuff. On rare occasions the snacks were of the store-bought variety, another notch down the scale. Jackson’s big, round lemon cookies, slightly stale, are still a favorite of mine.
And then there was the lowest level of Granny’s goodies: fruit. On the extremely rare occasions that Granny had not baked anything nor bought anything at the store for our snacks, she would open a can of fruit for our snack-time enjoyment. We certainly appreciated her effort but, well, we could have fruit at home. Fruit was good for you. But if that’s all Granny had, we didn’t want to be rude and refuse it. (And I don’t remember ever leaving any fruit cocktail, peaches, pears, or any other fruit in the bowl.)
A level or two back up the goodie scale from any store-bought fruit, though, were “real” peaches that had been frozen from the growing season before. Granny served them half-thawed and covered with sugar. Oh, yeah, that was good stuff. Those peaches were better any other fruit, better than store-bought cookies, and almost on par with some of Granny’s baked goodies.
Granny’s goodies were a regular, dependable part of our daily routine. That’s why one particular day stands out so vividly in my memory. I went to Pop and Granny’s to visit one afternoon after school, conversed with them for the requisite five minutes or so, and headed on back to the kitchen. I went through the mental goodie checklist upon arriving in the kitchen. Check the kitchen table – no cake or pie. Check the counter – nothing there, either. Check the cabinet – hmm, no store-bought cookies. Check the refrigerator (or the icebox, as Pop still called it) – no Jell-O or pudding or…wait, there in the back! It was a large bowl of peaches, fully thawed, a little pale, and not covered with sugar, but I could at least fix that part. Granny had not let me down.
I raked some peaches into a smaller bowl. I have had a sweet tooth for as far back as I remember, and I anticipated the syrupy goodness of peaches in their own juice, though I had noticed that in addition to the paler color of the peaches, there wasn’t as much juice as usual. Someone else must have beaten me to the peach bowl. I couldn’t get too upset about that; I had tipped the bowl and enjoyed the juice myself when I discovered the bowl first. Regardless, I had poured my Coke, and I had my snack ready to take back to the front porch, where Granny and Pop were sitting. As per my habit, I took a quick bite before walking back through the house.
“Ewww!” I exclaimed as I spat the “peaches” back into the bowl. Granny came into the kitchen and laughed at me for getting a snack of…rutabagas! A rutabaga is a root vegetable, a type of turnip that in no way tastes like a peach. I know that…now. Granny amusingly apologized for not having any goodies for me that day, but the damage was done. I don’t remember there ever being another day when Granny didn’t have some type of snack for us to enjoy, but I vividly remember biting into that piece of rutabaga. I will never again in my life eat a rutabaga. At least not knowingly.
Find these and more wholesome family legacy stories in Lines in the Gravel.
About Al Ainsworth
Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and Coach Dave: Season One. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.