Monday, December 8, 2008

Grandma's Cookies

I've been thinking a lot about Christmas this year. Specifically about memories and traditions. One of my favorite memories and traditions is my grandmother's cookies.

Every Christmas for years during my childhood involved a trek from Massachusetts to upper Virginia. Ten hours, give or take, in the car. It was a long drive, with three small kids, in the years before DVD. (God bless my parents!)

We'd wake before dawn and head on our way. Once we made it through New Jersey, we knew we'd make it the rest of the way. By the time I was in my "tween" years, I'd learn to sleep for the morning part of the trek. If I woke, I'd ask, "Where are we?" Anywhere north of New Jersey, I'd drift back to sleep.

One of the things that I am sure I dreamed about were her cookies - her "sandies". Similar to "wedding cookies", the were the first thing I'd check out once I walked through my grandparent's front door and hugged them both hello.

Sure enough. Year after year, sitting in the dining room, in the blue glass jar, were the sandies. I'd do a little dance and smile from ear to ear. If I were quick enough, I'd open the lid and pop on into my mouth. Yum. Cognitively, I know that she made them for everyone, but in my heart, it felt like she made them just for me.

During my college years, I began to make these cookies for myself. I'd asked for the recipe one year, and it arrived in my grandmother's handwriting, on a 3x5 index card. Year after year, I'd make them. Some for myself, some to share. Even now, the same 3x5 card guides my creation.

A few years back, after my father died, my mother started visiting her parents more regularly, I asked about the jar. On one of her next visits to my house, out of her luggage comes my grandmother's blue cookie jar.

So, that tradition continues. My kids now ask when I will make the (in)famous cookies.... I always save them for Christmas celebrations.

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