Hotcakes

I woke up when I felt the depression from the side of the bed. Grandma had sat down next to me.  Her hand tousled my hair and she said, “Good morning, sleepy-head. What do you want for breakfast?”  I knew what I wanted. She knew what I wanted too, but it was our ritual. I must’ve smiled at her, because I could see it reflected back on her face. “You can have anything you want. ” she let me know. It was always hard for me to just come out and say what I wanted, even when asked specifically.  I mumbled probably too quiet to hear, and she replied, “Hotcakes it is!”.   She got up and headed back down the hall. I lay there a few more minutes in that extra bedroom with the pink hue. The wall along the door was lined with a low book shelf. It was filled with Grandpa’s unpainted ceramics. When I would go to bed at night, I was always slightly afraid of them. So much so, that I would lay really still til I fell asleep right where I was. After a few moments I smelled them, the hotcakes. They were mixed in with the coffee scent coming from the kitchen. Everywhere else in my life they were called pancakes. Grandma was the only person I knew who called them “hotcakes”. Hers even tasted different. As an adult, I don’t know how many recipes I’ve tried, trying to replicate them.

I padded down the hallway and came into the kitchen. Grandpa was sitting at the table with his paper. One side would go down and he’d say, “Well, Good morning, Stranger! Who are you?” and I’d giggle accordingly. “Where’s Grandma?” I’d say, and he would always reply the same thing. “She went to Muskogee.”  “No, she didn’t, where IS she?” I’d reply, with a smile on my face, one that I could see reflected back on his face.Then she’d come around the corner from wherever she’d had to step off to for a minute.

Depending how far into the cooking process she was, she might pick me up and sit me on the counter top near her, so I could watch. She had stainless steel mixing bowls. I loved the way the kitchen smelled, some elusive mix of the wood from the cabinets, her spices, and whatever else was in there.

When the food was ready the three of us sat at the round table in the corner, between the two big windows. We’d watch the the hummingbirds dance around the feeders on the porch and we’d eat warm hotcakes, with fresh milk Grandpa had brought inside, in a plastic wide mouth jug. It was easy not to notice how hard they worked, when I was a little kid.  I suppose it was due to the fact that they never drew attention to that. They just seemed content to discuss the paper, and the birds and take the day as it was, however it was.

It’s one of my best memories, Grandma, Grandpa, and the hotcakes.

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