I opened the fridge today and saw my little village cucumbers were wilting. They have great cucumbers here (persian cucumbers as Americans know them).
I brought them out. Washed them. Felt thier different levels of limpness.
Salvageable pile and compost.
Peeled and started chopping…
What to do with all these little green cucs?
My hands started working. My head wandering.
Cucumber patches at the little green house. Grandma and Grandpa’s days of their grand gardens.
Cucumber boats carved out of leftover giants.
How spiny and prickly thier variety was compared to these thin skinned smooth little ones I was peeling now.
I made what I remebered of grandma’s creamy cucs. Chopped the onions, chopped the dill added some vinegar. Instead of mayo and sour cream I added the staple in Turkey of whole milk yogurt.
I reached for my tomatoes. Smelled…
The grand garden flooded in…
It’s summer now. The tomatoes are “real” again. Ones grown from inside the earth. Outside in the sunshine.
My Grandpa would bring his own “real” tomatoes with him to restaurants and stick them inside his burgers.
He had picked them straight off the vine next to that little green house.
What will become of that patch of land that nutured tomatoes, and cucumber, strawberries and asparagus, Rhubarb and raspberries- the patches I would run to as a child and pop fresh berries into my mouth.
What about that patch of earth that would freeze solid under 10 feet of minnesota snow.
Will it get plowed over with dozers and bobcats? Grandpa would have something to say about the job will do anyhow.
That patch of earth where generations of little feet had run around chasing the riding lawnmower for rides. Inhaling that sweet cut grass smell. That smell I love.
That place I love.
I love my grandpa and he just died, Leonard Etzel
He lived in a little green house with my grandma for a million years with a willow tree out front that lived and died along with them.
There is such happiness and peace knowing that he had been “ready to go” for a long time. He is with grandma now, backtogether again.
In grieving for grandpa it is not just grandpa you will miss for it is all that came with him. His jokes, his food obsessions; mush and “juice(bacon vinegar)” just two of the most recent.
How he couldn’t pronounce my foreign husband’s name though he would be sure to kindly ask, “How’s your husband?”(My own father, Kim was “Tim” off and on for 35 years). Just smile and say good! Our daughter was no longer Mavisu around that welcoming round wood table but rather “little Maud”.
There is Costcus and CaJun, BBq chicken wings, Smiles towards thoughts of tip jars for Saturday morning breakfasts.
The round kitchen table were there was always room to squish one more in or ate in rounds, “I’m done, your turn.”
Family gets wonderfully crowded when you had 7 kids and babies on down the lines.
I will miss it all…the food, the obsessions, the language, the kisses, washing his dentures for him, trimming his finger nails, scratching his itches, shooting the shit. He just liked a good chat!
The willow; branches that hung long and strong and swung generations of kids decked out in willow headresses.
Making special trips to Grandpa’s to “pick up sticks”. Those willow branches down after a storm encumbered the grass from being mowed EVERY single day.
The duct tape contraptions and fix jobs, the inquisitive mind that never forgot a thing but could not see nor hear(?).
The link to a previous generation; one that knew the great depression, one that fought wars that seemed very knoble, one little green house that had a lot of love.
As grandma had already gone to heaven, and so had his twin brother you wanted grandpa to be with them for him.
For him you wanted it but for yourself you wanted to just hold on just a little bit longer. Hold on to gramps huge crooked fingers, squeeze his tennis ball elbows just slightly as to not hurt him. Once more watch him adjust his trucker hat, give him a kiss and hear him say “love you sweetheart” as you loved him back so very much.
Because with gramps going that means the little green house, the willow stump, the rhubarb patch, the aspargus patch and did I mention the little green meeting ground, the meeting ground where you are always welcome, the meeting ground for the 7 kids and their kids and theirs, the seven branches of grams and gramps love and kisses.
Well…will be different now.
I feel blessed to have roots from the little green meeting ground and to know what “real” tomatoes taste like!
Thanks grams and gramps! We love you forever!
Also I ended up making grandma’s tomatoes. The smell was there…it took me back!
Tomatoes, lots of chopped garlic, chopped basil, vinegar, oil(I used some amazing olive oil as i now live in Turkey but that is another blog post), sprinkle or sugar, salt always and time…let the flavors mingle.
Did I miss anything mom? aunties?
Does cooking bring you somewhere?
What are your families favorites?