TGCIO (thank goodness Christmas is over). Does it make me a horrible person that I am glad the 25th is behind me for another year?
I'll save my ranting for another day and instead focus on two of my favorite Christmas treats: Christmas cards, and plates of goodies. I love getting cards, seeing the sweet faces of friends' kids, reading about their adventures. And unlike my mom, I don't even mind the braggy ones that go on and on about how great they are. In fact, those can be the most fun. I tape up the fotos on a little wall in my kitchen and leave them up all year to enjoy, reminding me how many people I love and (hopefully) love me.
A much more transient expression of love are plates of treats. Love them. Love the mad drop and dash, the amazing variety of snacks, the occassional, "this was made in heaven" moment which this year went to Nancy Dredge's popcorn with peanuts and crushed candy can wreath. It made my sister-in-law tear up. So as we are enjoying these treats, Dave's grandma who spends Christmas with us every year, says that if she were back in Denver she'd be making and delivering her holiday tradition of "Grandma's special cookies." Dave and Steph exchange blank glances. When Grandma goes to bed and I ask about the cookies, Dave says he's never seen her make cookies in his life. Jello yes, cookies no. Luckily Stephanie has the backstory on this.
Recently, Grandma was telling the granddaughters that they needed to write down her recipes for posterity. Not an unreasonable request, except that Grandma does not bake. Or cook. She is famous for steaming off the labels of jam, putting a sticker on it with her name, and handing it out to friends, as if the checkered Smuckers lid wouldn't give away her little secret. She sneaks cookies out of the Country Buffet and leaves them for months in napkin wads in her purse underneath value size bottles of Excedrin and then presents the dust to great-grandkids and says, "I made this just for you!" I am being unfair. Once, she did make a pot roast for Jonah when he was 3. We were visiting and he had strep throat so he could barely eat anything, just drink juice. She was so stressed that he wasn't eating. She offhandedly asked if he ever ate pot roast and potatoes. "Sure," I said. The next morning at 7am when I go downstairs, he's sitting in a high chair crying, with a huge slab of meat on his tray. And she said to me accusingly, "You said he'd like it!"
Anyhow, Grandma informs her granddaughter to get a pen and paper and she will dictate the recipe for "Grandma's Special Cookies." Here is the recipe (Caution--Do NOT try this at home):
First, take two handfulls of flour.
Second, get about two eggs.
Then, take a cake mix.
Add two big spoons of sugar (the flour cuts the sweetness of the cake mix, but then you need the sugar to make up for that).
Just mix it up and you got yourself some cookies.
Dave and Stephanie are currently driving Grandma to the airport. In some ways it's a relief in that the kids won't get awakened at 6am anymore when she opens and closes their doors several times loudly to see if they are awake yet. And we don't have to pretend to eat the jello with the soggy pecans in it (she does make jello). But mostly we'll miss her because she knows how to keep things lively and fun.