Friday, December 17, 2010

My Week Moments

Yes, week, not weak. Although both may apply. Suffice it to say, the spirit of my Grandma Schmutzer (who passed in 1998) has been dancing circles around me all week. I'm feeling rather emotional.

Really, I feel as though she's spending the holidays at our house.

It started last Friday when I made 400 kifli. For those of you not in the know, kifli (KEE-flee) are delectable little Hungarian cookies. The dough is made with yeast, butter (lots of), sour cream, egg yolks, sugar and flour. The filling is ground walnuts, lemon, egg whites, and sugar. I've tasted nothing else on earth like them. Really. Grandma used to make them all the time. Now I'm the only one who does, and it's ended up becoming a traditional holiday project for me. They are time consuming little buggers!

Anyway. I spent all of Friday rolling, filling, and baking. The house smelled just like Grandma's kitchen. The scent, accompanied by some Christmas tunes, gave me such a sense of wistful nostalgia. It was almost an out of body experience. I almost felt as if I was watching the cookies be made from afar, watching Grandma's hands do the work, hearing her tuneless hum along with the music.

As if that wasn't enough to rattle my emotions...

I packaged up about 3/4 of the cookies and we mailed them out to my Mom the following day.

I have to take a momentary break and say this: the US postal people rock! We sent them out priority mail on Saturday, and they were already there by early Monday afternoon. This was also true of three other packages that we shipped out, also priority mail, to the East coast. Everything was there by Monday.

As I was saying, I shipped a big box of them to Mom and she had them in her hands, and in her mouth, by Monday afternoon. She loved them. When I spoke with her that evening, she said that if she didn't know better, she'd have thought Grandma was in the kitchen. Cue my tears. Grandma was in the kitchen. Oh, she was indeed.

Grandma hung around for the rest of the week.

On Wednesday, Steve announced that we would be going to dinner with the boss and his wife. A very nice dinner. Fancy. Egads. I don't do fancy! It's not that I'm socially inept. I know which fork to use. I'm just far more within my comfort zone when everyone is wearing jeans and eating burgers.

The big problem was that I didn't have a thing to wear. Really, I'm not just being obnoxiously female. The only things in my closet are sweats, jeans and t-shirts. The other big problem is that I hate shopping for clothes. Not kidding, I detest it. I'd rather go to the dentist. I mean, I have a poor enough body image as it is, and I'm going to go surround myself with stuff designed for Twiggy?! (Oh great, I just dated myself too.) No, I think not! I'm going to go dump a pile of cash on something that I'll likely wear this one time and stuff in the closet to become moth fodder? Oh, hell no.

But, I didn't panic, and for that I was proud of myself.

I thought... I have stacks of fabric upstairs. Stacks and stacks of fabric! I have a sewing machine. I know how to sew pretty damn good. I'll just whip something up. To me it was no big deal, and in fact, a lot less painful than going to half a dozen different stores in hopes of finding something adequate. Friends thought I was nuts, but I've got to go with what I'm good at. And I'm not good at shopping.

Within an hour I had three different fabrics cut and laid out, Grandma's scissors and thimble at the ready. If I squinted just right, I could almost see her aged hand gently touch each fabric.

I know. You're probably thinking I'm a freak. I'm not. I haven't lost my mind. Of course I know that Grandma isn't really here. I'm not seeing ghosts. It's the presence of her influence on my life that I feel. It's the way she's in my heart, and the way that feeling in my heart comes through my fingertips.

That's a gift. That's a beautiful, sweet, loving, embracing, perfect legacy. I feel... overwhelmed with her love.

Psst... Grandma.... don't go anywhere any time soon, okay? I still need you.


  1. Your grandma IS there as the beautiful energy that she gave you throughout her life. I think some of that energy stays with us always, and sometimes it grows, especially when we "feel" that person in our heart. It's as real as the energy of the living, sometimes even more so, because it's borne of pure love.

  2. awesome. I got chills reading this... and a warm fuzzy feeling... and I could relate to parts (I often feel my father's energy.. & I hate to shop too!)... and, I was jealous at parts (I couldnt' sew anything if my life depended on it... except maybe a button...)

    I don't think you're crazy at all. I'm glad you feel your Grandma's presence. She lives on through you... and, while I know you miss her, and wish you had the "real" her - I also know that even the memories of her are more comforting than painful to have around. I'm also sure that you make her very proud.

  3. My grandma (she was my great grandma, but really she'll always be the "grandma") hangs around a lot, too, mostly in the kitchen with me. i make many of her recipes on a regular basis. i feel like i am a keeper of those recipes.
    She grew her own basil, and picked it fresh for her recipes. The smell of basil IS grandma. The thing is, grandma died when i was 7, so my memories of her are fuzzy at best. My mom's stories are mostly what form a vision of her for me. That's how amazing she was, that i feel her even though i was so young when she died.
    Thank you for sharing this, another connection. And someday i need to get that recipe from you!


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