Otis and the Geese


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Children's Books, Grandmother, Growing UP, Memories, Relationships | Posted on 14-12-2016

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My grandmother used to read me the story of Angus and the Ducks. Angus, the curious Scottish Terrier, got into mischief. One day, he was off-leash and ventured on the other side of the hedge, encountering two ducks. They stared him down and proceeded to hissssss at poor Angus. This hissing scared the crap out of Angus and he ran back to the safety of underneath the sofa in his living room. He never ventured to the other side of the hedge again.

The thing was, my grandmother made the most amazing hisssssssing noise when she read that part. During my childhood, I made her read that page over and over. We both would get the giggles.

Fast forward 30 + years.

While on a run, Otis, the curious Yellow Labrador, and I encountered two hundred Canadian Snow Geese. We stopped for a moment to take it all in, with Otis nearly ripping my arm off. He was raring to go get into mischief.

The pause in our run made me reflect upon the wondrous moments reading about Angus with my grandmother. When I visited her–even until I was pushing 16–we would snuggle up to read Angus and the Ducks and we would giggle at the hisssssss. Every time.

I have read that book over and over to my children. But it never had the same effect.

I guess some things are best kept tucked away in the memory vault. Best kept as my own magical moments.

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Sunshine in Human Form


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Children's Books, Family, Grandmother, Memories | Posted on 27-01-2016

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Sunshine in human form? That was my grandmother. She was pure sunshine.

She created miniature marshmallow happy faces in my Cream of Wheat.

She always reassured me, “Everything will be all right.” Read more here about how my grandmother and Bob Marley were alike.

She hummed while she scrubbed stains from my clothing. Her hands always smelled like Clorox.

She played her favorite hymns with gusto at the piano in the evenings.

She patted my knee when she sat by me on the sofa and always told me how happy she was to see me.

She swung on the teeter totter with me, even when we were both too old for teeter totters.

She made the perfect goose hisssssssss sound when she read Angus and the Ducks.. I always had her read that page over and over. To this day, I giggle when I think back at that hisssssssss.

The other morning when Otis and I were running, I missed my grandmother so much that tears welled in my eyes. I had to stop to cry it out. On that grey, overcast morning, the clouds suddenly parted.

The blue sky and sunshine emerged. I knew at that moment that my grandmother and I connected again. Everything will be all right.

Blues skies ahead. #positive

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Shut-Me-Up Candy


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Humor, Memories | Posted on 12-01-2016

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For my grandmother, Life Savers were, well, a life saver.

In church, I loved to sing along with my hymn book. I tried to listen to the sermon…Amen! But the minutes grew into hours it seemed. I soon grew restless.

My grandmother would whisper to me to stop fidgeting. The kind of whisper that could be heard three rows away.

She opened her patent leather clutch with the magnet clasp and handed me a small notepad with pastel-colored paper and a ball point pen. Drawing was fun for 8 minutes.

Time for shut-me-up candy. All hail Life Savers. One at a time, she would dole them out to me.

I knew I had to savor them because I wasn’t sure how many I would be gifted. Each Life Saver would rest on my tongue until the edges would become so sharp, you couldn’t resist crunching. Crunch! Sshhh!

Back then it was red, orange, yellow, green, white. Red was cherry. Orange was orange. Yellow was lemon. Green was lime. White was pineapple. That was my favorite.

I am not sure when they changed to gaggy raspberry and watermelon. I asked my ten-year-old son if he liked Life Savers. You mean the gummies? Um, no, the original ones. He said he had never tried them. What??

The original, shut-me-up candy?

So I bought him a pack. Whaddya know, they still work. 😉

My grandmother used to dole me out one Life Savers at a time to keep me quiet during church.

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The Box of Memories


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Grandmother, Growing UP, Happiness, Life, Memories, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 15-07-2015

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When my grandmother and I used to play the game Memory, there was always more talking and laughing than matching. We played every time I would visit. We’d get out the tattered box of Memory cards, flipped them over and start grinning. As each card was flipped, a picture rich in memories would appear.

The tiger with the eyes that resemble peas.

The girl in the blue dress, with the braids flying.

The long white rabbit.

The mother and baby owls perched.

The king with the big belly and short legs.

The triangle “quilt.”

The lion cub peeking from the striped awning.

The lion with the hairy mane and sad face.

And of course, sly fox.

When my grandmother died, I packed up the “box of memories” and took them with me. Decades later, the box itself disintegrated but the cards were intact and full of life…and memories. They cards now reside in a Ziploc bag on the game shelf and have been resurrected! My daughter and I play regularly. And we talk and laugh and have our favorite cards…

The tiger with the eyes that resemble peas.

The girl in the blue dress, with the braids flying.

The long white rabbit.

And so on.

As we play, I am filled with happiness that my grandmother’s hands touched these exact cards and laughed at the same king with the big belly and short legs.

I guess you’d say, the memories are alive and well.

Marigolds and Counting Cars


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Grandmother, Life, Love, Memories | Posted on 04-06-2015

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One car. Two cars. Red cars. Blue cars.

When I was a girl, my grandmother and I played a game. We sat side by side on the grass in the shade and stared out at the highway to count cars.

My grandmother lived outside of the town limits. Alongside a country highway. Where you could hear the train’s whistle blow. Catch a whiff of a skunk at the wood’s edge. And where you were surrounded by an abundance of marigolds, which my grandmother tended with love and care with her green plastic watering can and expert dead-heading skills.

When I visited, she let me care for the marigolds. And when we needed a break, we counted cars. I picked blue. She picked black. Then we’d count. Whoever picked the most colors won.

Sometimes I picked red and she picked blue. Your odds were best if you picked black, blue, and red. Trust me.

Time stood still for us, as the cars whizzed by.

After all these years, whenever I see marigolds and smell their tomato aroma, I am reminded of my grandmother and the sweet, simple times we spent together.

Marigolds remind me of my grandmother.

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The Quilt


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Grandmother, Growing UP, Love, Memories | Posted on 29-06-2014

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I love quilts. I love the history, craftsmanship, and artistry of the American quilt.

I have a historic American quilt, made with fine craftsmanship and artistry. My grandmother made it when I was a girl.

She sewed it by hand. I remember sitting at her feet, playing with my dolls.

Her sewing skills were impeccable. Her seams were perfect and tight. If the thread line was off, she would rip out the seam and start over. The finest of craftsmanship.

The colors and patterns in the quilt were bright mixed with pastels mixed with patterns mixed with florals. I remember the fabric being leftover from actual dresses she had sewn and worn.

In the end, the colors and patterns formed a masterpiece of art.

It took hours, days, and weeks to sew that quilt. Then, it was tucked away for safe keeping.

Many years later, at my wedding, that quilt was gifted to me. Gifted with so much love.

For a long time, I proudly hung that quilt on my wall, to admire. Then, I realized it would be more loved if I used it for snuggling and comforting. So now, every time I wrap myself under it, I am reminded of my grandmother and how she loved me so much.

My grandmother made this quilt for me. What a treasure.

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The Banana


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Grandmother, Growing UP, Love, Memories, Nostalgia | Posted on 25-04-2014

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Remember Sleepless in Seattle? One of my favorite scenes is when Sam Baldwin (the Dad) is telling his son about some of his favorite memories of his wife who died. One of the reasons was how she could “peel an apple in one long, curly strip.” Read this article about 29 more reasons why this movie is the best romantic comedy of all time.

“It was a million tiny little things” why my grandmother was the best. Her baking pies and cookies. Her sitting by you on the sofa and patting your knee reminding you that she loved you so much. Her making the perfect duck sounds as she read you Angus and the Ducks. Her hands smelling like bleach as she scrubbed the stains out of your clothes.

Her reassuring you that everything will be all right. Kinda like Bob Marley. Read here about the similarities between Bob Marley and my grandmother.

One memory, like Sleepless in Seattle, was when she sliced a banana on your cereal, then she always popped the last piece in her mouth. Always.

And guess what? I do the exact same thing. Always.


Peanut Butter Cookies Like Grandma Used to Make


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Cookies, Cooking, Grandmother, Ideas, Memories, Recipes | Posted on 07-09-2012

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This peanut butter cookie recipe is my grandmother’s. I have her recipe card–stained with butter–written in her curly script. She made these cookies in the Great Depression. So not only are these suckers tasty, they are best served with a glass of American history.

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Combine butter, peanut butter, sugars, eggs.  Add in baking soda, Then flour. Mix dough. Roll into balls and place onto parchment paper-line cookie trays. Flatten criss-cross with a fork (can dip fork into water so it doesn’t stick). Bake about 8-10 minutes in a 375 degree oven. I take them out a little early for chewy cookies.

Then I proceed to eat about seven. These Great Depression cookies are perfect for the anti-dieters. 🙂

Bob Marley, My Grandmother, and Cream of Wheat


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Breakfast, Life Lessons, Memories | Posted on 20-08-2012

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Who knew that Bob Marley and my grandmother were actually alike?

At first glance, they were nearly opposite.

  • He wore his hair in long dreadlocks. She wore her hair in short, rollered curls.
  • He smoked weed. She pulled weeds.
  • He was born in Jamaica in 1945. She was born in Iowa in 1906.
  • He played Reggae on steel drums. She played church hymns on the piano.

My grandmother always reassured me, “Don’t worry, Honey. Everything will be all right.”

Much like Bob Marley’s song Three Little Birds, “Don’t worry about a thing. ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

A good message to hear when I am feeling down and need a boost. And in a way, the song is as uplifting as a hymn.

When my husband and I were dating in college, he made me a mix tape (yeah, it was a cassette tape) with that song. Every time I hear Three Little Birds now, I smile and think about my husband and my sweet grandmother, who made me Cream of Wheat for breakfast with a smiley face made out of mini marshmallows. And I am reassured.

Saturday Nights Were Get-Ready-For-Church Nights


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Connections, Family, Grandmother, Memories, Summer | Posted on 25-06-2012

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As a kid, Saturday nights were get-ready-for-church nights.

I would soak in the bubble bath, lingering until the water turned cold and the bubbles had vanished. Emerging, with my towel wrapped around my hair like a turban, and my nightgown that my Grandmother had laid out for me, I would join her at the kitchen table. Out came the tray of wonder. Her mirrored tray, with the golden handles, lined  with bottles of nail polish in all shades of pink. No red. No purple. Just pink.

Peachy Keen Pink. Pink Lemonade. Rose Blush. Pink Carnation.

What a choice! I made my selection. But what I liked most, was shaking the little glass bottle with the miniature beads inside. The mixing beads. They don’t have those in nail polish bottles anymore, do they?

My Grandmother would paint my nails. And while they dried, we watched The Lawrence Welk Show. It was our thing.

She would tuck me into the crisp, freshly-laundered floral sheets. She would turn the sheets inside out, so that the folded-over sheet showed “the pretty side,” A homemade quilt at my feet. I would say my nightly prayer, “Now I lay me fast to sleep…” The box fan was going full speed, humming, on a hot Summer night. My Grandmother would sleep next to me, smelling like cold cream with her freshly curled-sprayed-and-set hair in a hair net.

It was Saturday night. Time to get ready for church the next day. What I remember most were the sweet rituals and time well spent with my Grandmother.