As Grandmothers, do we sow seeds into who our grandchildren will become….seeds of ourselves that may bloom in them?
I am my grandmother’s garden
I remember my grandmother in a kitchen that contained things like lard, oleo, bacon grease and coffee percolating in a glass pot on the stove. Breakfast was sometimes cream of wheat and the leftovers were placed in a buttered pan and refrigerated. The next morning, it was sliced, fried in oleo and served with syrup. Lunches were cooked meals with table set. She could cook anything and I don’t remember a measuring cup or spoon…she cooked by feel and experience.
I was barely out of diapers when I told her I wanted to make tortillas. She placed a bowl and ingredients out on the table and instructed me on how much of this and that, the kneading and rolling, never placing a hand but allowing me in all my child like clumsiness to do it all myself. When all was right, she pulled a chair to the stove, let me light it as I’d watched her do a million times and let me cook them.
While i was experiencing different textures, smells, flavors, the cool of the dough and heat of the stove….she was planting seeds….seeds that took root and grew into a love of cooking, baking and a love of doing so for others. In the kitchen is where I bloom.
Living in Corpus Christi, hurricanes were just a normal part of life and when they hit, my grandmother made a pallet in the hallway, placing my young Aunt Carol Sue and I therein and pulled two mattresses up to block the ends of the short hall. We were snug in our makeshift fort with grandma reading bible stories of Adam & Eve and Joseph and his coat of many colors by flashlight.
There was no fear in the storm, but happy excitement as I’d run to grab the book of stories. While the storm raged outside, my grandma planted seeds that took root, deep strong roots that blossomed into faith.
In my grandmother’s kitchen was the largest buffet I have ever seen! Instead of being filled with table linens and China, it was filled with paper, scissors, paints and colors.
Long afternoons we’d spend, her painting and I drawing, covering the table with mounds of “fine art”. Amid oohs and awwws and among these pages filled by tiny fingers and paint speckled hands my grandmother planted seeds. These seeds bloomed into creativity, art & craft that to this day my happiest place is elbow deep in a bucket of paint.
L-R Carol Sue & me
The nights I spent with grandma are the things I remember best. Carol Sue and I piled in grandma’s bed, the windows open to catch the cool breeze and the dark room aglow with moonlight. She’d play her guitar, softly singing the songs she had written as Carol squealed with delight and I sang along to our favorite songs and while she sang in lullaby tones, ushering sleepy eyes to dream…she was also sowing seeds. These seeds did not bare music for me but rather words, poetry, a love of description and a well turned phrase that paint the pictures of a story to be told and bore their fruit in every news article written, contest won, poem published and today, this blog.
Oh yes, I am my grandmother’s garden, where freshly tilled, she sowed a legacy of all the pieces of herself. Today, I gaze into the curious eyes of my own little gardens and day by day I’m sowing seeds, both hers and mine, praying they’ll take root and waiting to watch them bloom.
©Laura M. Bailey, All the shoes I wear & writing down the Bones, 1990–Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Laura M. Bailey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.