March 22nd. My Nana’s birthday. This year she would have been 81. We were almost exactly 50 years apart. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. Whether it’s cooking a recipe that she always made, or seeing that my windows are dirty (and knowing how she’d look at them, then me, with disapproval lol) Something always reminds me of her.
I wish she had gotten to meet Dave. I became a much better cook and baker when I met Dave. I truly think it’s because my nana, who taught me to cook, and whose recipes I use, likes him. My pie crusts always came out terribly when I was with the other guys I dated. My chicken was always dry. My cakes always fell in the center. But then I met Dave and suddenly, pie crusts were delicious, chicken fell off the bone and cakes were fluffy and moist! I think it’s Nana.
I am most saddened that Avery will never know her. They would have loved each other, completely.
I have been thinking of how to write about my nana, a post that encompasses everything she was, and everything she taught me. It has been a struggled, because there is so much to say. But then I stumbled upon the eulogy I gave at her funeral, October 2005, and it says everything I want to say, so I’m sharing it here.
Lessons Learned in Nana’s Kitchen
For the last 23 years I was blessed with having an amazing grandmother. For many of those years we lived under the same roof. This living arrangement brought us closer. Sure, there were many times when we did not understand each other, and many arguments, but the fights did not last long and we both knew we loved each other. No matter how crazy the other acted.
We spent many hours just sitting at nana’s kitchen table, talking. Through these chats I learned some important life lessons.
- You don’t need to curse to make a point. It is unladylike and unnecessary. A simple and well directed “Oh hush up!” can stop an argument almost instantly.
- Everything is better when made from scratch. Especially dessert. Cake from a box is ok in a pinch, but store bought pie is un-edible.
- Everything tastes better with butter…a lot of butter. Real butter, none of that margarine garbage.
- Throw things away! Some things, while they may seem like treasures, are really just trash. Get rid of the clutter. (This is a lesson I still need to learn)
- One or two good dresses can go a long way. Nana could never understand why us girls needed a new dress for every little school dance. Two dresses got her through 5 proms!
- A warm toasted cheese sandwich is the best comfort food. Nobody makes them like nana, though my cousin Amanda is pretty close.
- Have an opinion. And let everybody know about it.
- Exercise your right to vote. As long as you vote Republican.
- Cleansing the house should take about a week. And if your arms don’t ache, the windows aren’t clean yet.
- Play Bridge. It keeps your mind sharp and you’ll make some wonderful friends.
- Be strong, responsible and independent.
- Always know you are beautiful, smart and kind.
- Never forget you are loved.
In some of our conversations at the kitchen table Nana and I talked about religion, and what happens when you die. Neither of us knew for sure, but I do know two things; If there is a heaven, nana is there, and Heaven will always have very clean windows.
Lois Fontaine Dayton Fisher
March 22nd 1932-October 16th, 2005