“This gift is from Grandma,” my mom said as she handed me a huge gift bag. My grandmother left this life last year. The statement made me pause.
I sat down on the couch and started to pull things out of the bag. First, a huge box. It was tattered, and sported a Walmart price sticker for $13.84″.
That sticker tells a story of how long my grandmother had owned it. In the box was a beautiful blue and white platter. My grandma used this tray at every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner she served around her table, in her cozy dining room.
A tray I would see my grandpa proudly deliver to the table, piled high with turkey and ham, made with love by my grandma.
A tray my grandma would carefully wash by hand, alongside my mom and aunts while they washed most of the dishes used that day.
Grandma preferred to wash by hand, and the dishes wouldn’t all fit in the dishwasher anyways.
My mom remembered that she was the one who bought Grandma the platter after a holiday where she commented that she didn’t have her own. And now, after commenting that I needed a platter, my mom brought me this beloved tray for my own home.
I looked at my mom and thanked her. I knew what it meant for her to give me this platter full of memories. “There’s one more thing in there,” she told me.
As I reached to the bottom of the bag, I felt the wooden box and immediately began to weep. I pulled out a beloved box of Grandma’s recipes. “We all agreed that you should have it,” my mom said through tears of her own.
I was stunned, flattered, honored. I sat there, thumbing through the cards; picturing my grandma doing the same over the years. Searching for the perfect recipe for the occasion.
I could tell which ones were her favorites. The ones more worn than the others. Some were even labeled “from Grandma Nellie”, my grandpa’s mother, a farm girl, who could make a feast out of nothing. I gave my mom a hug and thanked her for this gift.
As I carried my grandma’s recipe box to my kitchen to find a place to display it, my mom followed behind to show me my third gift from Grandma. She pulled out her cake pan, and opened it to uncover a cake, with candy letters just like Grandma would have done.
The metal cake pan has a metal lid that slides into place to protect and hide the surprise inside. When my sister and I visited our grandma’s home, we would check the stove top for the presence of this cake pan. If it was there, we knew to be on our best behavior until we were offered a piece of what was inside. Likely my grandma’s famous chocolate cake with fudge frosting, made from scratch. The recipe was in the sacred recipe box; and at the top of my list to recreate.
When the cake was polished off and I was washing it, I noticed “C. Harding” was still written on the bottom. I got goosebumps as I considered what that label meant. It meant that she owned this pan. She took it places and brought food to others. People loved her food. And she loved to serve it to others.
I am eager to carry on her legacy. This pan and platter and box of her recipes will continue to be a blessing to others.
Cecilia Harding, your name is not the only piece of you I’ve been given. I hope to be half as warm, hospitable and eager to serve others as you were. Now, to perfect that chocolate cake of yours!