Friday, February 4, 2011

Bacon Grease Popcorn

 Memories Of Grandma-  
Grandpa and Grandma on one of their first dates.

 I lost my grandmother on Sunday. She had a stroke and passed away a few days later. She was 94. At first this didn't seem to affect me, emotionally. I thought it would, but I didnt feel that different for some reason. Then all at once, for no apparent reason, it really hit home and everything else around me seemed mundane and faded out. What made it hardest, in a way, is that almost exactly a year earlier, we moved from Idaho to Maine. So here I am, surrounded by feet of snow, 3,000 miles from my family and there was nothing I could do.

I finally came around to things. She's better off. I know folks say that all of the time, but in this case, it's certainly true. She's with her husband, a man she was married to for 70 years now.

My grandma was a cool old broad. Even when I was young, she looked old, and stayed looking the same for the last thirty years. She had a wicked, sarcastic streak and loved inspiring us to try new things, whether it was her charmingly named "Shit on a shingle" or drawing or my brother's crazy kitchen concoctions. She was persnickety and fussy and always had that twinkle in her eye that told you she knew she was being that way on purpose.

So to honor her, and help center my mind a bit, I went out and bought a package of bacon ends and pieces, cooked it in a skillet until it was little blackened gnarls of meat swimming in grease and used that grease instead of oil to make my grandma's infamous Bacon Grease Popcorn. It sounds worse for you than it really was - you use the same amount of oil you usually do, and end up using less salt because of the bacon flavoring. And most importantly, it comforted me.

My cousins posted a few other remembrances of grandma and I want to list them here too. I love how old-fashioned they seem looking back. Growing up with her - and I lived next door to her for most of my life, so I might as well have grown up in grandma and grandpa's house, it was like a time machine of good memories.
My grandpa and grandma at our house on Christmas. Also check my brother's awesome boots.
  • A wooden toy box behind the front door,
  • The rotary phone on the kitchen wall,
  • The hide-a-bed sofa we all slept on,
  • Cucumber and onion slices soaking in a vinegary mix…
  • Baseball, Wheel Of Fortune or soap operas always on the TV
  • Yarns… miles and miles of it crochet into beautiful afghans with not one mistake to be found.
  • The little side table filled with coloring books, crayons and TV guides
  • Cans of pop (not soda) in the laundry room
  • Cartoon glasses to drink it from
  • little tubs of tapioca pudding
  • The bowl of hard ribbon candy in the bedroom
  • The windchimes hanging from the ceiling in grandma's bedroom,
  • The musty, low cellar full of canned food
  • The tiny, tiny house that they raised 5 kids in
  • The massive oil stove that took up 3/4s of the front room
  • The silver butter knife used to "lock" the back door and the laundry detergent bottle that held it open
  • Dixie cups in the little dispenser by the kitchen sink and the sweetest water in town
  • Sticks of celery in a glass of water to keep them crisp
  • Apples peeled in one single spiral swipe with an old paring knife
  • Green peppers with meals
  • The cabinet full of tall tales and short story books
  • Jars of pennies,
  • Purple Irises and pink bleeding hearts and lilac bushes
  • The squishy car seat on the back porch next to the sloping door to the cellar that made a perfect slide
  • The old trikes and toys in the back yard next to the steel swingset
  • Epic games of pinochle
I'll miss you grandma.
Hazel Marley - 1916-2011
She is survived by her 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and 1 Great-Great-Grandchild (with another on the way) We will all miss you.

1 comment:

randymeiss said...

A very fitting and moving tribute. Sharing of memories is the best way to honor a loved one as well as bring a certain amount of comfort to those left behind. Reading this brought a few memories back from my childhood also. I have to try that bacon grease popcorn, it sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing, Kris.