This morning I washed a small Revereware saucepan caked with chocolate sauce. It had a very sticky handle.
Washing it brought back memories of washing dishes with my maternal grandmother. She had a set of copper bottom pans that she had had for many, many years. Every time she washed one, she’d get out a copper polishing pad and shine up the bottom of the pan before putting it away.
I have many memories of my grandmother, all of them good. I knew her years after the time when she was a farmer’s wife who’d serve huge meals for her man, her children, and various farm workers. But I got the benefit — she was a wonderful cook. I don’t think I’ve ever had a dessert to top her sour cream raisin pie and her Gone with the Wind. She used to come by our house when we were in school and leave little cups of baked custard to surprise us when we got home. She said she didn’t know how to cook when she married my grandfather at age 18. When he went off for WW I, she went home to let her mama finally teach her how. It always helps to have a reason to learn.
I learned about paying forward from her. Once she came to take care of me and my siblings to let my mother go away for a weekend. When my mother asked what she could do in repayment, Grammie said, “Do it for your children someday.” That line comes into my head fairly frequently, and I always think of her.
She was quick, efficient, and impatient. She also had some expressions that have stayed with me. When I’d dry for her and pass a dish back that wasn’t entirely spotless, she’d snort and say “It’s a poor dishtowel that can’t do half.” I did a lot of dressmaking at her house. When I’d worry about how something turned out, she’d say, “It’ll never be noticed on a galloping horse.” That one puzzled me for a long time, but I’ve come to understand it meant, “It’s good enough. Perfection is not required.”
My grandmother traveled back east to my wedding, and I traveled out west to show her my baby daughter, the two of them shown here in the colored picture. The black-and-white picture shows her holding me. She looks like she got a lot of pleasure from babies in the family.
I have a lot of gratitude toward my grandmother, and I’m so glad my copper bottom pan makes me think of her.