Friday, June 06, 2008

Michigan Brand

One time I went grocery shopping with my grandma in Warsaw, Indiana. There was nothing remarkable about the trip at all. I can see the shelves in my mind though, and I remember following close to her, and I remember the checkout lane.

And I remember this one thing she said.

You’re probably thinking it is some profound pearl of truth that fell from her mouth, and that’s why I’m re-creating the moment in my blog. But it was only this:

“Michigan Brand cottage cheese is the best.”

That’s what she said. I have no idea why I would remember THAT. I mean, I want to remember some words that come to me in the middle of the night, or bring peace during the storm... The words of my grandmother, startling and eternal. You know, something like that.

But all I have is cheese.

The thing is, there’s so much that I remember from my grandmother and none of it is really words. It’s more…smells and pictures. We spoke together, of course, over the years. But I don’t really remember the words.

I remember the feel of her, and the sound of her voice. I remember her expressions and her wit – you could see that in her eye. I remember the way her fingers, bent from arthritis, would just touch her hair before a picture was taken, a split-second of shy vanity. I remember the laugh that she had for teasing boys – her boys – that revealed pride even while she remonstrated.

I wonder what my children will remember of me? Because I try so hard to make the words that I say to them the right ones. What if they don't remember any words at all?

I can just hear my oldest reminiscing with the others:

"She always said to choose Jif."

The younger ones would nod thoughtfully, while secretly hoping that perhaps there was more to that statement than was obvious...finally accepting with an attempt at pride this legacy: Their mother was a Choosy Mom.

So maybe it's not about words. In fact, maybe I say too many. Who knows what little droplet of verbal minutae they will remember? It could be anything. But if it's not about the words, then it really doesn't matter.

My children will remember my feel. My look. My eyes. My smile. My softness. My laugh. My arms in a hug. My lap.

This brings me some comfort, and some pause.

I'll think about that while I eat my cheese.
I bought Michigan Brand because it's the best.