Grandma Waight feeds us

Grandma Waight enjoyed feeding folks.

She rarely left her house and extensive flower garden, but welcomed those who visited with simple food.

On Sundays, after Dad and my brothers finished the evening milking on our dairy farm, we went to visit her. Mom spent the time talking with her mother. Dad accompanied us – his five children – to the living room to watch Lassie and Disney. He stayed in his seat. We made frequent forays to the kitchen counter to sneak homemade oatmeal cookies from a covered metal casserole dish.

Excuse me – we TRIED to sneak cookies. We never actually did it.
That proved impossible. The metal lid always touched the metal rim with the gentlest of bell sounds announcing the departure of another cookie .
We never asked for a cookie. No one ever told us we could not have a cookie, but she always laughed that she knew every time we try to grab a cookie on the sly.

We snitched cookies. She served us ice cream.

But, she did not dip and scoop a couple mounds of ice cream into a bowl. Ever the tidy soul, Grandma carefully broke open a cardboard box of Neapolitan ice cream, laid the cardboard sides out around the block of ice cream, took a large carving knife and carefully sliced off the rectangle of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry into eight pieces, one for each guest and herself. Each rectangle went into a small clear glass bowl with a cut glass look.
Some Sunday nights she filled a large, red rimmed, white enamel pan with popcorn and slices of apples.
During the week, if grandchildren came during school vacations or used her house as in infirmary on a sick day, the menu changed, but the circumstances did not.
Because my parents considered their children too busy with homework and housework to have a television set in the home, we could only watch TV at our grandparents’ houses. So, for us, it did not matter that that meant re-runs of sitcoms. We had never seen any of them. Every time I spent a day at her house, I watched TV until my head ached.

While we sat hypnotized on her blue couch, she moved around the kitchen, pulling out cookie trays, tearing off a couple sheets of paper towels to cover each tray, opening cans of peaches, packages of Archway molasses cookies and salt risen bread.

A note for the uninitiated. Salt risen bread is a denser, white bread that makes delicious toast and has an aroma and flavor out of this world. You can’t find salt risen bread on the grocery store shelves anymore, but it was the only kind of bread Grandma ever bought at the corner grocery store.

She toasted salt risen bread and placed it in the center of a gold rimmed plate with delicate flowers interspersed between ribbons of maroon. She opened a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup to heat then carefully poured the soup with its cubes of mushrooms over the toast.

She arranged silverware and a folded napkin in their proper places on the tray. In the right corner of the tray she placed a clear glass of milk. In the left corner she set a bowl of peaches and an Archway molasses cookie topped with a slice of processed cheese.

Not an expensive meal. Not a gourmet meal, but one that simply said, “I am glad you are here and I am glad to share with you what I have.”