Tuesday, January 19, 2010
This look gets me every time. I think it's the dimple. I got this look this morning when he was ready to take a break from his school work for a snack. He asked for pineapple cake. Nope. Then he asked for 2 Chocolate Chip Cookies and a glass of milk. Nope. His last attempt to swindle a dessert for a morning snack was graham crackers and milk.
There's no need to try and break me down with a sweet look with that request. I have a sentimental weakness for this combination.
When I was little, I spent as much time with my grandparents as I did with my mom. My grandpa filled the role of father to me in ways he could, always looking for teaching opportunities. We'd spend our days together under his car changing oil or mixing fiberglass resin to repair holes in fenders. We played countless games of backgammon or acey deucey. He monitored my progress with the clarinet and piano lessons. He always had an honest, yet encouraging word for me when I had struggles with life.
I've never changed the oil in a car by myself. I couldn't tell you how to fix a hole in a fender. I long ago gave up the clarinet and the piano. If you asked me to play backgammon, I'd have to relearn the rules. But one thing he taught me, a ritual I've never tired of, is his "secret" to eating graham crackers and milk.
I still remember the day he explained that you have to break the graham crackers into the milk and be patient while you wait for them to absorb the milk. The transformation from dry, powdery crackers that parched your mouth, making milk a necessity, into velvety softness (or soggy mush if you're not buying it) that brought out the flavor in the crackers was unforgettable.
My grandpa is facing a new phase in his 10 year battle with bladder cancer. While we're all mentally and emotionally preparing for the removal of one if his kidneys where the cancer has metastasized, it's the simple memories of moments like this from my life that bring me comfort.