Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Colby Cheese and Marigolds

Oh the words. They do return. Thank goodness!

We took a little trip over to our favorite farmers market before dinner tonight. All four of us. We don't know exactly why we find that so much fun. Brenna thinks it's because the food is so yummy and they give out samples. Michael thinks it's because the store is small. Daniel likes the Disney-like dogs that play guitar above the milk case every 5 minutes.

Today we picked up some grape tomatoes for our dinner salad. Some butter and garlic croutons. And some milk. (Daniel is drainin' the milk cartons faster than we can buy them.)

We always walk slowly through the store, pointing out good deals and things we'd like to try someday. Today as we walked past the cheese display, I picked up a block of colby cheese. As I turned to put it in the cart, I said to Michael, "In honor of my great-grandpa". I got the "huh?" expression in reply.

My great- grandpa always had Colby cheese in his refrigerator. Whenever one of my aunts or my grandma would take me by for a visit, I'd ask for a piece of cheese. I don't remember there being much else in his fridge, but he always had cheese. He lived in an old two story brick home that looked like a city row house picked up and singularly dropped outside of town. I never went upstairs. I don't actually think I ever went into any room other than the kitchen and living room. The house was so old it only had an outhouse (if that). I don't know what everyone else did, but I had to go in a bucket whenever I visited. The house smelled of chewing tobacco and old, stuffy air. That's enough to make a young girl dread visiting!

Most every spring, though, my aunt would take me over to help plant marigolds in the flower bed alongside the house. My great-grandpa usually had a garden planted, too. I remember the tall sprinkler that rose out of the middle to water his cucumbers. I'm sure he must have planted other things too, but cucumbers are what I remember.

Nowadays his old house has fallen into disrepair. I think part of the garage has collapsed and weeds have taken over the old flower bed and garden. The house is much smaller than I remember and you can barely see the driveway. Whoever owns the property hasn't touched it in years. I only see it once every couple of visits to Ohio.

Marigolds and Colby cheese, though. They will forever remind me of my great-grandpa. So today I bought a block of cheese and this spring I'll probably buy a couple of marigolds. And I'll tell my kids about eating cheese and planting flowers at my great-grandpa's house. And I'll sound ancient when I tell them he didn't even have a bathroom. But the memories. They are precious.

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