Today’s beautiful letter comes from the writer of the blog Fat Bottom Girl Says What. It is a beautiful letter to her Grandmother.
Booker T. Booker T. That’s how you described the call of the cardinal to me. I think if it were possible for you to come back to earth in another form, you would come back as a cardinal because you loved them so. I often imagine the one who hangs out in my backyard is you, back for a visit to check on me, and gaze upon my son who you never got to meet.
I think of you often: when I see a cardinal, when I plant flowers or my vegetables, when I take my recipes out and see the Kitchen Klatter recipes scribbled hurriedly in your hand during the radio shows you listened to, often on a scrap of paper, or even a piece torn from that day’s newspaper.
I remember the smells of your baking bread, and cinnamon rolls, and frying chicken. I remember the taste of the homemade sauerkraut you used to make; so good I would eat it straight out of the jar with a fork. I remember snacking on buttery, salty popcorn, and grape juice mixed with a little 7-up. I remember the smell of your sun porch, a wonderful mixture of dirt and peat, and geraniums.
I remember the day my 16 year old self, very pregnant with your first great-grandchild, called you to tell you I couldn’t come to your birthday party, like I had done nearly every of my 16 years. I felt I couldn’t face the judgment of my aunts and uncles and cousins, even for the homemade, hand-cranked ice cream we made every year in celebration of your birthday. Do you remember what you told me that day Grandma? You told me you didn’t care what everyone else thought. You wanted me there, and that was all there was to it. So I went, and never regretted it for a minute.
I remember when you said goodbye for the last time. I had come for a visit shortly before moving to Germany for three years, and we were standing on your deck. You told me you should probably say goodbye now, because you didn’t think you would ever see me again. It sounded so silly to me at the time and I didn’t want to hear you saying something like that. I tutted you and told you I would see you again. But you were right Grandma. I didn’t ever see you again. You got very sick not long after that. I hopped a plane home to see you one last time. I phoned my dad and let him know I had made it back to Kansas safely. Even though you weren’t coherent, they let you know I had made it back, and you died a couple of hours after that.
As a young adult I never realized all the things I would miss about you; that I didn’t appreciate nearly enough while you were still here. Now I fully realize them, but it seems too late. I tell my son things about you, and my mom and I still talk about things you taught her.
You know my dad still has a hard time relating to me sometimes, but a few years ago I overheard him tell someone something about me. He said, “She cooks like her grandmother”. It was one of the best compliments I have ever received.
*** Have you a letter to someone you would love to write? A first love? A letter to a younger you? Someone you wish to thank? Maybe a confession? Or a letter to someone who has made your life difficult?
I am still taking contributions to this series of letters. Check out the guidelines for submission or just contact me with any queries. You can read previous contributions using the “series of letters” link.