Monday, March 21, 2016

Sweet (And Bitter-Sweet) Memories (w/pic)

Grandma's Cookie Jar ( bean pot)  is about 7" across and the same high with lid. Click to enlarge.

Had I become the hermit that I once considered being, I’d still own my ancestral home, and it would be furnished with “hand-me-downs” (antiques) ranging from rustic to primitive to Queen Anne to repurposed “junque” to a few homemade pieces. Cooking and décor items would have been a similar hodge-podge of objects. Each piece would have had a story, which I would have happily told to anyone willing to listen. Alas, I got married—twice. There’s an old saying about marriage, “Two people can live as cheaply as one, it’s just that it costs twice as much!” I can vouch for the veracity of that statement. For 33 years, I’ve sold more and more pieces of my family history, as my wife and I have drifted from one round of poverty to the next. During that time, we’ve accumulated thousands of dollars of seasonal decorations in the attic, and some not inexpensive furniture which looks eerily similar to some that I sold for pennies on the dollar. Such is life for the unwise.

The latest piece with which I’m parting is my maternal grandmother’s cookie jar. However, it’s not actually a cookie jar, it’s a bean pot. Despite that fact, from shortly after my birth until adulthood, I can remember the little pink ceramic pot with the brown (black?) lid sitting on her kitchen counter with homemade treats inside, usually applesauce cookies. I always knew if she was baking those cookies when I entered her home. Their sweet, spicy scent filled the air and caused my salivary glands to react like those of Pavlov’s dog. They were about two inches across and an inch thick, soft and spongy, sometimes a little sticky to the touch, but always just sweet enough to be utterly delicious. The fact that I knew the trees which bore their most important ingredient made them taste even better.

I was sort of hoping that it was a McCoy piece when I decided to part with it, but it turned out to be a Bake Oven brand. I’ll probably be lucky to get $5 for it from the antique dealer, but with a few other things, I may still get just enough to make it worth stopping at his place.

The thinning of our belongings will probably continue, even if my financial plans soon work out. The reason being that my wife has nearly convinced me that we should sell our home and land in the country and move to a puny one-floor house on a puny, sterile lot in town. If I could still walk the hills and work on the house roof, I’d put up more of a battle, but I can’t. I have four leaks on the roof that I can’t get to, so I need to find someone who will fix them for me cheaply or for trade of something or the other.

I’ll miss life in the country, but I figure it might still be a couple years before those dreaded days come. I’ll miss all the things that I’ve parted with, too, mainly due to the memories they evoke of the people that they call to mind. I’ve reached that point in life, though, when I know I’ll be re-united with many of those folks in a few years. I rarely see any of my family that’s left anymore anyway, even the “close” ones, so I actually have more folks that care about me waiting on the other side. Folks tend to think I’m morbid when I talk this way, but I really don’t mean to be. I know where I’m going and have no fear of that day, though I’d prefer it not be today.

You know, I just had a thought, someday when I get to Heaven, if I smell applesauce cookies baking, I’m going looking for Grandma! © 2016


Tewshooz said...

Take a picture of the loved things you part with. We miss those things because we can no longer see them.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I have so many items similar to your jar that I still use but nobody else would care about. It is my connection back to people who were born over 150 years ago. They bring back all the memories.

Gorges Smythe said...

dh, since you put your address in your comment, I didn't post it. If you're serious, make me an offer, including shipping.

I do when I remember, Tewshooz.

Yeah, SF, and since my family is a dying branch on the family tree, there's no-one to pass them on to.

Gail said...

Taking pictures is a good idea. It will make you smile as you remember. You're not gone yet.

Gorges Smythe said...

No, Gail, I plan on being here a few more years just to torture other people! lol

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

We have a lot of family stuff, lots of it still in plastic tubs in the attic. There are some things I'd really have a hard time letting go of, mostly silly little things. Hopefully my daughter will be able to take them some time, my son has more modern tastes. Yes, lots of holiday decor, most of which I don't put out anymore but still really like it. I hope you can stay where you are for awhile.

Chickenmom said...

Ah....memories! Those are more important than the actual object, Gorges. No one can ever take them away from you. My Gram had a farm in N.H. called 'Blueberry Hill'. To this day, just the scent of them brings me back to a time in my life that I loved so much. :o)

Gorges Smythe said...

I hope I can, too, Kathy, thanks.

I know the feeling, Cm!