I loved being at my grandmother’s house. It was such a cheerful place. As soon as I opened the kitchen door, I felt that there was no other place I could want to be. Just a foot or two from the kitchen door was the white wood-burning stove, spotlessly clean and always hot–very hot–not to be touched by your bare hands. There was a rocking chair near the window facing onto the porch door. On the other side of the room was another rocking chair, and here I hoped to see my grandmother, sitting looking off towards the fields on the other side of the house.
If my grandmother was not in the kitchen I would go look for her. Sometimes she would be sewing on her Singer hand-pedaled sewing machine. Other times she would be cleaning around the house or taking a nap in a small room off the kitchen. Whether she was working or napping, I would have to tap her on her shoulder to let her know I was there. You see she was deaf. Almost instantly her eyes would light up and a smile would come across her face. I would give her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. I would have to be careful not to squeeze her, as her hearing aid was wired, and it would screech if there was interference. Then we would head for the kitchen, where I would go to the cupboard and find the large coffee can with homemade cookies: molasses, old-fashioned sugar, or date-filled. There would be milk in the refrigerator.
We would sit and talk awhile. I always faced her, talked slowly, and enunciated each word carefully. My grandmother was a smart lady who always seemed young and everyone loved her. She had a sense of humor and was as keen as a whip is fast. She was industrious and never complained; my grandmother lived to be 98 and was cooking and caring for her home until the last year of her life.
After I had my snack I would get ready to head home. My grandmother always had something to send along with me: a quart of milk, a few eggs, or a pound of butter. Going home wasn’t a problem except for the cattle gate, where I would set down my load of food and push it under the gate. Then I would climb up the wobbly poles, sit on the top, swing over, drop on to the other side, step down, and jump off before retrieving my load.
As I returned home, I would listen to the sounds of nature and sometimes sing along the way. Upon entering the shed, I would stamp my feet to remove the snow or mud. Then I would enter our kitchen, greet my mother, and tell her all that had happened on my trip to my grandmother’s house. I was never afraid and was delighted to occasionally see birds, rabbits, or a deer. Visiting my grandmother was always worth the trip.
-July 22, 2014