The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 19, 2013

Grandparents and grandkids

By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

— Did you have, or are you a good grandparent? Think about it.

I had good teachers to be a good grandma. My Grandma Meeker (Mother’s mother) died the night before my 4th birthday. In fact, I got the dolly quilt she made for me after my birthday, as my special day was put on hold until we had attended her funeral and grieved her loss.  

Even though I was that small, I do remember some things about her. I remember that she wore an apron all the time and wore her hair pulled back in a bun and wore little tiny glasses. She had soft hands and a gentle voice. Her house smelled sweet, like Palmolive soap. Every once in a while I will detect that aroma  somewhere and it reminds me so much of going to Grandma’s house.  

I don’t remember a lot of things that she cooked because I wasn’t paying attention at that young age, but I do remember her making plum butter and jelly. Oh, what memories I cherish of knowing her, if only for a short while. She was a gentle soul like my mother, and a friend to everyone.

Daddy’s mother was so funny and fun and laughed at everything and told wonderful stories to us kids. She had a contagious chuckle that I can still almost hear. She and Grandpa joked with each other a lot. After Grandpa died, Grandma still told wonderful stories of their life together.    

Grandma, with the help of granddaughters, including me, wrote a book called, “Where There Was Will, There Was a Way.” Grandpa’s name was Will. It is a wonderful book about her growing up and coming to early Oklahoma, and when she and Grandpa met and married and raised their six children. It  is funny, but it tells sad stories. It is truthful. She didn’t really embellish much, but she did see things from a humorous, positive side. She saw good in everything and everybody. What a  role model she was.

Because I was lucky to marry a man with a daughter, I am blessed with two wonderful granddaughters to call my own. I have learned so very much from them. Every age was a special age, from the time they were tiny babies, and still are. I didn’t know my heart could hold so much love.  

And within the past few years, we have added two great-grand- children to our family. To watch them learn new things is so much fun. They are close enough in age  that they will never remember life without the other one. It is work keeping up with two active children.

Our eldest granddaughter is engaged to a lovely man who has four children. The oldest is away at college, so we have not met him.  But, we have had the joy of meeting the other three, a boy 16 and two girls, ages 11 and 6. They already have changed our lives   forever. They will be here for Christmas and I can hardly wait.

When they came this summer,  the girls and I baked and had tea parties and shopped and went for walks and did everything, yet nothing in particular. We had a blessed time.  

I remember going to my grandma’s house and having such wonderful times with her. Whether she was cleaning the chicken house or working in the garden or rearranging the cellar, we had a great time.  I thought everything she did was to entertain me. Now I know that wasn’t the case, but we talked about everything while we did routine things, and I had the most memorable visits.

Grandma cooked on a wood cook stove until they got electricity, and then she got an electric range.  Food didn’t taste as good after she got the new range, as she seemed to burn things. She just never quite  got the hang of it. I am glad I learned on her old range.  Everything tasted so good.  

Spending the night at Grandma’s was a delight. I slept upstairs in the feather bed, piled high with heavy quilts. I slept so cozy and safe. Everything made a wonderful memory.   

I enjoy  cooking with my granddaughters like I enjoyed cooking with Grandma. A special cake that she made nearly every time I spent the night was this easy stir cake. She  made it in a flash and it cooked while we ate supper. Then we had that warm cake for dessert, slathered with homemade butter or iced with sugar and cream. What memories!

Grandma’s Chocolate Cake

3⁄4 cup sugar

1⁄4 cup butter (or bacon grease)

4 tablespoons cocoa

1⁄2 cup boiling water

1 cup flour

1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder

1⁄4 cup sour milk

1⁄2 teaspoon soda

1 egg

1 half teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar, butter and cocoa.  Pour boiling water over it and beat.  Add flour and baking powder.  Dissolve soda in sour milk. Add egg, milk/soda and vanilla. Pour in greased and floured pan approximately 5-by-9 inches. Grandma used her wonderful old black biscuit pan.  Bake until done.  Since Grandma  cooked with a wood stove, she  just guessed at the temperature. It was probably about 350 degrees, for 25 to 30  minutes. You can judge when it is done by the aroma.  

This next recipe is by request of several readers. I did not make it with my grandma, but I sure will make it with my grandchildren when they come for Christmas.

Pumpkin Fudge

3 cups white sugar

1 cup butter

5 ounces evaporated milk

1⁄2 cup canned pumpkin

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 cups butterscotch chips

7 ounces marshmallow cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

3⁄4 cup chopped pecans

Combine sugar, butter, milk, pumpkin, and spice. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to boil until it reaches the soft ball stage (234 degrees on a candy thermometer), scraping the bottom of the kettle occasionally to keep it from scorching. Stir  in chips and stir until completely melted. Stir in nuts, vanilla, and marshmallow cream. Spread evenly in 8-by-8 buttered pan. Cool at room temperature and cut into squares. Store in refrigerator.  

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.