If You Have Grandparents, Please Go Hug or Call Them

Topic #55: If you could have anything to eat right now, what would it be? Bonuses: 1) Assume price is no object. 2) If you could eat this food with anyone alive or who has ever lived, who would it be? 3) Find and share a photo of what you’d like to eat or the person from #2.

If you have living grandparents, I am extrasupervery jealous of you. As of June 2009, all of my grandparents are gone and it has surprised me in the last year and a half how often I think of all four of them and how much I miss them. There is a local radio DJ who has a recurring segment where he calls his grandmother in Alabama. Mornings where he plays those phone calls are the best because she reminds me so much of my Granny – my mom’s mother.

Granny and David

Before we moved to Bend, my family lived in West Linn, which afforded us the opportunity to spend a ton of time with my maternal grandparents, who lived not too far away. Almost all holidays, weekends, summers – it seems like we were always with them. And they were just the best. I think they may have faltered from time to time as parents, but like all good grandparents should be, they were always spot on with me and my brothers. Granny kept a fully stocked junk drawer of candy, conveniently located right near the strawberry cookie jar – always full of Oreos (or, more accurately, Hydrox). It is truly one of the great mysteries of my childhood how she managed this, but those cookies were always stale. I think I was an embarrassing eight or nine years old before I realized what a fresh Oreo was supposed to taste like. Given the amount of time we spent there – particularly the amount of time my hands spent diving into that cookie jar – I have no idea how they were always stale.

Granny may also have been singularly responsible for keeping the good people at Cracker Jacks in business in the 1980’s. Boxes and boxes and boxes of them. Under her bed. For us to find at night right before bedtime. See what I mean? That would make for some shaky parenting, but totally okay as a grandparent.

Granny’s other signature move involved taking us for walks on this trail behind their house that – with the benefit/curse of adult hindsight – I now realize was nothing super spectacular. As a kid though, it felt like freaking Narnia. A playground and tennis courts were at one end and undeveloped Washington County was at the other. A smallish creek ran alongside the trail – it was all pretty standard issue suburban “wilderness.” But like I said, magical for us. Part of this magic lay in the fact that nearly every time she took us on a walk, Granny would stop after a couple hundred feet or so and make like she had a rock in her shoe. She’d bend down and out would come pieces of candy. From her shoe. Which we ate. EVERY single time. I don’t recall ever thinking it was gross or weird. Obviously she could have just put it in her pocket, but where’s the show in that?

For his part, Granddad kept us in fresh fruit and vegetables (and also from becoming three tiny diabetics) by maintaining the most impressive garden I have ever seen. Stuff like this happened a lot.

fruits of our labor

So, back to the point of this post. If I could have anything to eat right now, what would it be? It would be, without question, Granny’s buttermilk fried chicken. I am ruined for fried chicken because of her. This beloved and totally respectable Portland establishment does absolutely nothing for me. The part about Granny’s fried chicken that I loved the most was how she’d fry up little bits of the flour and buttermilk mixture and let me eat them while I watched her cook. We called them Crispies and dear Lord, they were delicious. Really, from what I can remember, Granny’s only culinary Achilles’ heel was the way she prepared green beans – with bacon that for some reason was never fully cooked. So gross. The fried chicken though… Yum.

So if I had the chance, tonight I’d eat fried chicken at the table in the picture below, with everyone in the photos I’ve included here, plus Grandad and my mom, and it would be the loveliest. I’d skip the green beans though. That shit was just nasty.

With Granny and Dad

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