Tuesday, September 9, 2008


My 89-years-young grandmother has never touched a biscuit in her life. She’ll only eat bread if it is toasted. The only pasta she likes is spaghetti, the thinner the better. In fact, she likes to make macaroni and cheese using vermicelli instead of elbow macaroni. She takes an aspirin every day but never takes ibuprofen or other pain relievers. In fact she rarely, if ever, gets a headache. She learned this year that she’s a great-great-great grandmother. She doesn’t like the new host of “The Price is Right.”

These are just a few of the things I recently learned about my grandmother when I spent an afternoon with her. It was just the two of us and we had plenty of time to talk. I don’t often get the opportunity to spend much time with my grandmother as we live about an hour apart and because of my busy work and life schedule. But I can’t believe that after all these years I never knew my southern grandmother didn’t like biscuits.

This may explain why it took my mom, who is a great southern cook, years and dozens of failed attempts before she mastered biscuit making from scratch. Not that making biscuits from scratch is easy. I don’t think I’ve ever done it (but I make a mean Pillsbury Crescent Roll). I just didn’t realize that mom probably never learned to make biscuits because her mom didn’t make biscuits. Why? Because the very sight of a biscuit makes my grandmother ill. At least that’s what she says.

I have tried over the years to learn more about my grandmother. I think she has a fascinating story. She is one of four sisters and grew up in Louisiana. She was married four times. Her first husband died in a plane accident. Her second husband died of a heart attack in his 40s. Her third husband died of cancer, as did her fourth and last husband. She also lost her only son to the Vietnam war. I’ve always marveled at how one woman could withstand such loss of the men in her life. I think that maybe her natural spunkiness has something to do with her resilience and longevity.

She is rather spunky. Let me illustrate. When MiniMe was two years old, my mom and dad gave her a spring horse. You know the big plastic kind attached to a stand by springs that kids sit on and bounce up and down? Well, for some reason known only to her, grandma decided she’d give the bouncy horse a go. She saddled up, bounced once, twice and off she went. Bounced herself right off it. It may be the only time in history an 82-year-old woman was bucked off a spring horse. Once we realized she was ok, we laughed and laughed and laughed. I think grandma laughed hardest.

It’s a sight I’ll never forget. And I guess it just proves that my grandmother knows, perhaps better than anyone else, that life can bounce you in many different directions, but it’s best to take it in stride and get right back on the horse. (Though we never let her near that particular spring horse again!)


Lliba said...

I really liked this one, Kath - it really captured your grandmother for me. I'll never forgot sitting around with her before your wedding - we are all dolled up and looking fabulous (including your grandma) and she just launched off and ... well, she burped! Then she just continued on in her conversation with your mom like nothing had even happened. It was really cute and hilarious.

NativeMom said...

Thanks Lliba. And I remember your grandma once told us that when we got engaged, not to ask our guy for an engagment ring. We should get a "really good washer and dryer set."