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Grand-ma’s Christmas Kitchen

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Grand-ma’s Christmas Kitchen Click to view

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Never had a Christmas Day come that we weren’t at Grand-ma’s house for dinner. Along with the boxes of presents and excited, yelling kids, the ladies would bring along lots of holiday food.

Inside the shiny aluminum foil was turkey and dressing smelling of sage and cornbread. Pies had thick, gooey meringue  with tiny drops of golden liquid beading it’s surface You never knew which flavor pie you’d get – creamy chocolate, tangy pineapple, or toasted coconut – until it was cut open, revealing the thick, sweet-smelling pudding inside.

All the children would sneak into the kitchen to see if dinner was ready. The tantalizing smells of the baking turkey, and rows of brown ‘n serve rolls lined up waiting their turn in the oven were just to tempting for us to resist. We hung around underfoot, hoping for a tid-bit to hold us until dinner was ready.

The kitchen walls were painted a light blue, and a large piece of clear plastic was thumb-tacked behind the stove. A door leading to the service porch was always left open on this day to let in a cool breeze.

On the south side of the kitchen, an unusual indoor window was divided into sized cubbyholes. If you looked through it, you would see a bedroom. It was a big day when one of the kids could look through without being held up in someone’s arms. On the shelves in this window sat my Grand-ma’s little glass figurines. We kids always had to examine each and every one. I remember a large, funny coffee cup. It had two separate compartments, each with a flat side. When put together, it would make one large cup. Words printed on it said it was a “Texas sized” cup of coffee, and wouldn’t you rather have half a cup.

As the dinner preparations were coming to an end, my cousins, sister, and I would argue over whose turn it was to sit on the tall wooden stool. It’s rounded seat, painted sky blue, was the favorite perch of every child. We took turns and usually drew straws to see who sat on the favored ‘throne’. When sitting so high, you’d feel like royalty.

Finally, everyone would crowd around the kitchen table and my uncle would say a special prayer. It was always the same one, and gave everyone a good feeling that our family was gathered at Christmas again.

My Grand-pa usually sat at the table with the ladies and kids. With a twinkle in his blue eyes, he’d do his magic tricks for us. These were just simple things, like pulling a quarter magically from a child’s ear, or switching our iced tea glass with his, and doing little puzzles with matchsticks, but to us it was real magic.

As night came on, everyone would pack up some food for taking home. Bidding everyone a good night, the children would be rounded up and a tired but happy family would make their way home on a cold Christmas night.

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I wrote this story way back in 1984.

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