I like to enter short writing contests. Recently I submitted an essay to the National Association of Baby Boomer Women. Although I was notified this week that I did not win, I sure enjoyed writing my 500 word essay on my favorite grandparent memory.

 

My most precious memory of grandma, Charlotta Estelle Mohr, is spending countless hours by her side at an impressive round oak pedestal table. When I close my eyes, I see her standing at the kitchen table mixing cornmeal pancakes that we will soon have for breakfast. Years later upon her passing, a thief entered the home one cold January day and stole the treasured table where warm hours of laughter, companionship, and love had been shared. But the memory of what she taught me at that table remained part of my being.

 

Our life on the Missouri family farm centered on this heirloom. For starters, I saw food and lots of it! The table was where we ate our everyday meals as well as holiday and birthday dinners. My grandma made melt-in-your mouth biscuits, and her fried chicken was unequaled. Her self-sufficient farm produced abundant cherries, strawberries, red raspberries, black raspberries, apples, and grapes. After harvesting, we sat at the table and stemmed strawberries for preserves or peeled apples for latticed topped pies. She took delight serving homemade grape jelly in a crystal compote. Later, she graciously gave me many treasured family collectibles that we had enjoyed on the table including a soup tureen that was a wedding present from her grandmother. One of her moments of respite was late afternoon tea served at the table.  She taught me to savor a cup of fine brewed tea enjoyed with coconut cake or sugar cookies. Of course, these delicacies were not made from Betty Crocker’s cake mix or Pillsbury’s slice and bake cookies! My grandma made everything from scratch, and her recipes were in her head. I savored those blessed afternoons with her while sipping tea in special china cups decorated with pink roses that were reserved for our traditional ritual.

 

The table was also our entertainment center. My grandma enjoyed games (and winning I might add!), and she taught me to play Monopoly. I learned to play marbles on a hand carved board and to play card games such as Pitch and Hearts. I loved coloring Easter eggs and set up my assorted pastel colors on the table, and grandma cooked onion skins for brown decorated eggs. Other days, our entertainment was sewing. While grandma pieced quilt blocks, the table became a cutting area for my red and white gingham dress. And when I was not sewing my clothing, I leafed through the Sears & Roebuck catalogue and made out my wish list. Sometimes, we headed to her beautiful gardens and picked gladiolas, peonies, or roses; then we arranged them in vases on the oak table.

 

Although the beautiful oak table did not remain in our family, the memory of my grandma sharing her life with me at the table is a still frame in my mind. I have her to thank for my love of baking, antiques, flowers, and tea time—all taking root at this beloved table. Today, she is helping me arrange purple lilacs—they are breath-taking!

 

Bountiful Blessings!

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