Sunday, September 24, 2017

Reminiscing: Grandma's Counter

I had a weird vision the other night when I was trying to find some cookies in the house. Now, I’m not normally much of a cookie eater. My kids love them. They eat them all. Sometimes, they bake cookies (they are awesome, trust me) and attempt to leave some for me. A lot of times, I don’t get to them quickly enough and I miss out. I miss out a lot. We don’t keep very many pre-packaged cookies at the house. So, me looking for cookies was very unusual, to say the least.
While rifling through the cupboards in the nearly dark kitchen, my mind went back to a moment (or several) when I was young and staying at my grandmother’s house. There used to be a Sodus Cottage Cheese tin occupying the end of the counter. Inside were cookies most of the time. And most of the time, the cookies were the No-Name Brand of Oreos. Grandma could get a big package of them for the fraction of the cost of the named brand. My brother, sister, and I would raid that tin whenever we were over at the house.

At the other end of the counter, atop a cranky, old microwave, was a dish that held sticks of gum. It was a special treat when we got a piece of that gum when we were visiting. Nearly all the time, it was Doublemint Gum, with Beeman’s or Black Jack occasionally making an appearance. The loose sticks silently beckoned to us. We would ask only after we had been there awhile, but not so long that we would still have gum on the ride home. The sounds of gum chewing by children would not be very well accepted.

When we did get a piece of gum, grandma would rip the stick in half and give each of us a half piece. There was no reason for wasting a whole piece on a kid who would either accidentally swallow it or drop it out of his or her mouth into the dirt outside. Yes, a half piece would suffice. And we better not complain about getting only half a piece. Otherwise we could forget about getting a piece of gum.

On of the coolest things about that counter was a secret space under that microwave. The drawers in that cupboard did not go all the way to the top. Instead, there was a board that made up that part of the counter that could be lifted to get into that space. I always thought of that space as a secret place where messages were kept and documents that told of a map on the back of the Declaration of Independence. I’ve always had an overactive imagination.

That same cupboard held the blender. It was through this blender that I learned to love my milkshakes. There was nothing like a vanilla milkshake, mixed in that blender, and served in one of those tan, Sunfrost cups. I sometimes wish I still had some of those cups. They kept everything cold for a long time. Plus, they were vintage, and vintage is big now. I think the reason we always got drinks in those cups is because they were plastic and wouldn’t break when we inevitably dropped them.

All this came about because I was sneaking around for cookies. I still never got my cookies, but I did get a little story to talk about. I have lots of memories of that kitchen. Someday, I’ll tell you about the egg incident in my other grandmother’s kitchen -- that orange wonder of decoration. Visiting the homes of my grandparents were always an interesting time, and they stick in my mind. For years I’ve heard aunts and uncle, and parents talking about visiting their grandparents’ houses. As a kid I never understood the intrigue behind those stories. I do now.

Craig Bacon is still looking for cookies. I prefer homemade chocolate chip cookies, but store bought might suffice. Oreos are awesome, too.