TITLE: Still Her Favorite 2/27/17
By Sherry Brock
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I see a light through her window, and I know Grams is waiting patiently.
My response is automatic. “No...it's George Clooney calling.” I wait for it.
“Well, come on in here George, but I hope you brought breakfast.” She laughs and claps her hands together.
The line always brings a blush to her face and a laugh to my ear, both which make me very happy.
“Grams, how many times have I warned you about letting strange men in this house?” I kiss her cheek, and right on cue her crinkly hands reach up and grab the sack.
“Any man coming through that door with breakfast is fair game...stranger or not. You got the good biscuits, right? From Melton's Diner? “
It's a weekly ritual now. Every Saturday I bring Grams breakfast. Grams is very peculiar about her breakfast.
I move her food tray over the bed, go grab her favorite plate, and start the coffee. Glancing over my shoulder, confirming her attention is on the biscuits and not me, I pull a jar out of my pocket. Quietly I open a drawer, pull out a label, and, quickly, before she notices, flatten it to the side of the jar.
“Don't forget the blackberry jam.” Her nose is immersed deep into the bag, taking in the aroma.
“I know Grams...a plate, spoon, butter, and jam...got it.” I eye the label on the jam jar checking for any tiny miscue, like an air bubble, or crinkled edge. Grams is smart.
She lays the delicate biscuits on the plate and grabs her spoon. I settle into the recliner cringing at what comes next. She takes the end of the spoon, splits the biscuit, and starts to gouge the flaky insides out, forming a hollowed out bowl in the middle of each half.
“It's Jackson's birthday today, Ken...February 4th, 2012...guess that makes him five.”
“I thought his birthday was in May.” Let the games begin.
“No...May birthdays are...Katie's on May 5, 2002 and Calvin's May 27, 1959.”
“What was I thinking?”
When it comes to dates Grams' never wrong, but that's the point of the game. Birthdays, anniversaries, deaths; anything with a date she remembers accurately. It's always been a gift, of sorts. Ninety-eight years old and she puts us all to shame in the memory department. Sharp as a tack this woman.
It takes the better part of a half-hour to spoon out the soft doughy biscuit. I've learned to be patient. Offering to help only brings wrath on the poor soul who tries. Unfortunately, her body no longer works nearly as well as her mind. First, she discards the pillows of soft dough and places a heaping mound of butter on the bottom half, and then, the best part, spoons an overflowing of blackberry jam into the gaping round left in the top of the biscuit. She eyes it, then slams the two sides together for one big bite.
It's the moment of truth.
She chews and swallows. Her shaky hand moves toward the coffee as I leap to wipe jam from her mouth's corner. Stopping momentarily as I wipe, she shifts her eyes upward meeting mine. “You just can't beat Scooter's blackberry jam, can ya?”
My eyes avert hers as I slide back into the recliner. “No, Grams...you can't...it's the best, by far.”
I didn't lie. Well, not really.
She sits the coffee cup down, sighs, then slowly lifts the biscuit for another bite, while never taking her eyes off me. She knows.
I don't crack. “Wasn't Jan and Vincent's wedding a year ago this month?”
She's not playing the game. Maybe I'm busted. She takes another slow bite, chewing for what seems an eternity. I wipe the jam from her lips again and we repeat until she's finished.
Grams says her goodbyes and off I go. It seems we got away with it, but then I get a call mid afternoon from Aunt Carol.
“Your Grandmother's livid about the jam.”
I fain disbelief. “She didn't say a word. I thought she didn't notice.”
“Oh, she wouldn't scold you, Kenny...her favorite grandson.” Her voice rises an octave. “NO...she waits and lets ME have it at lunch...I told you switching the label wouldn't work.”
“So you told her Scooter's went out of business?”
“Yes, and she knows I faked the label and you put it on the jar.”
“So...she realizes it's all your fault.”
“Yes...dear...you're still her favorite.”
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