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Grandma stands at the head of the kitchen table. “Go ahead and stir it up. I’ll do the cleaning.”
“Oh, Gram.” A pause. I’m old enough to know better, but I question myself inside just the same. Does she—could she—really like to clean up a sugar cookie mess? No way. She’s just being nice.
“I can clean up after myself,” I protest as I know I should, but I can anticipate what she’ll say and that I’ll give in. A surge of love makes my face warm and rosy. Grandma loves me. She wants to clean up to make me happy.
I start to roll out the dough. Grandma’s reciting her dog-eared script about how she doesn’t like to roll cookie dough, and I believe it because I want to as I remember the anonymous blob-like brown cookies she always has in her cookie jar.
“What kind are they?” I asked her once and she shrugged. No name cookies. I like that. I like that Grandma doesn’t care about the Gods of Recipe Land. She creates her own cookie that will never be exactly duplicated no matter how long posterity might try.
Grandma is my hero. She insists on my having wine with the adults when Thanksgiving is at her house. And when I visit her in the summer, she takes me to the drive-in theater and lets me watch movies with crashing waves and closed doors—Mom would disapprove but Grandma likes romance—and Gram and I throw our peanut shells on the floor of her spotless car and drink copious amounts of the lemonade she made especially for the occasion.
Grandma’s not afraid to say not-nice things about people if that’s what she thinks—even if Mom calls it gossip. And she drives a red car because she likes red and, anyway, it was raining the day she went car shopping and she didn’t want to get wet.
Grandma gives everybody a chance—even the people she speaks of in a harsh whisper. I like that, too. Her emotional door is always open—at least a crack. She laughs over the gay man who rents her back apartment—not a cruel, judgmental laugh, but an amused chuckle because the stick-on butterflies he attached to his toilet seat relocated themselves to his buttocks when he used the facility and the way he tells the story is so funny.