The Nooks and Crannies
I remember as if it was yesterday; I might have been between 8 and 10 years old. My grandparents lived in North Jersey, where my parents were raised. When visiting, we'd always stay with my Mom's mother (dear, dear Frieda), but for some reason, this one time, I stayed with my Dad's mother, sweet Josephine. I can't tell you why my parents weren't with me and I can't even tell you if my brother was there. I can tell you that I hope to never forget that morning in Josephine's Italian Kitchen.
She pulled the package of English muffins off the counter (I still hear that crinkle sound), split one and tucked the halves into the shiny toaster. We chatted — about what, who knows — but our words were joined with the light that began to bleed through the bay window. In a moment, the toaster popped to tease my eyes with a glimpse of the golden muffin. Josephine grabbed the hot treat, letting it dance in her open palms, and put it on a small, round plate. She cradled a soft, butter container with one hand while using a knife to skim the top. The butter hit the toasted peaks of the muffin and melted immediately into little pools of sweet fat. Josephine slid the plate across the table. I leaned forward, away from the mint green-backed chair, to reach for my breakfast. My first memory of sweet cream butter kissed my lips that morning, so much so that Josephine made me another muffin.
This morning, I learned of Josephine's passing. I tucked myself into a private meeting space with a box of tissues and my thoughts. I reflected on this great memory: a silent time of a grandmother and her grandchild. She finding joy in nourishing me and I feeling special in experiencing something new. Now, I realize that this time meant so much more.