• When I was young it was Grandma who fixed all my problems. I would run into her house and be greeted by a cookie and a hug. It was Grandma who always could determine exactly what it was I was blubbering out. Grandma would always turn on the left tap, then the right tap, and pick up the soap. After she was done, she would dry her hands and turn around and tell me the answer to my problem, no matter what it was. It was Grandma who made it feel like the world was O.K. and her ritual of washing her hands every time, made it seem as though all was right in the world.

    I remember once when I was five, and just learning how to play softball. I was trying to hit the ball around our yard, but when I finally hit the ball, it went across the yard and into our front window. Sobbing I ran to Grandma’s house, where I was immediately embraced by her warmth and the faint smell of lilacs. She wiped the tears from my face, brought me a couple cookies and asked me what was wrong? I explained how I had just wanted to hit the ball better, and I had accidentally cracked a home run straight through our living room. Grandma nodded and turned to the sink, turning first the left tap then the right, and grabbed the soap. By the time I was done my cookies, Grandma had dried her hands and sat on a chair pulling me onto her lap. I looked solemnly up at her and wailed “Gramma, what am I gonna do?” Grandma smiled down on me and explained that I had to take responsibility for what I did, that I needed to go home and tell my parents what happened, that it was an accident and that if necessary I would help pay for a new window with my allowance. I nodded then grudgingly shuffled out the door.

    I remember when I was six, our teacher took us on a trip to the graveyard. It was a nice walk until one of the boys started teasing me about my grandfather being dead. I watched with horror as he stomped on my grandfather’s grave and jumped up and down on it. I wished so hard that Grandpa would come out of the ground and grab him, but of course he never did. I screamed at him to stop, but he only jumped harder. From across the graveyard, the teacher yelled we could go home now. I ran as hard as i could, tears streaming down my cheeks to Grandma’s House. I slammed open the door and ran straight into Grandma’s outstretched arms. She hugged me until I stopped shaking, then kissed my forehead and sat me down on a chair. Immediately she brought me cookies galore, and with concern in her voice, asked what was wrong. So I told her about my trip to the graveyard and how one of the boys had defiled my grandfather’s final resting place. With a slight hint of anger she turned away and turned on the left tap, then the right, and grabbed the soap. After she had scrubbed her hands for what I thought was a long time, she turned to me, sat down and grabbed a cookie. When she was done munching she explained to me how boys can act quite dumb when they want your attention, and will do pretty much anything to get it, and although what he did was very rude, he didn’t do any harm to Grandpa. Grandpa was safe in heaven, and it really wasn’t Grandpa down there, it was just his body. I nodded and tried to understand everything she was saying, she used some big words, and said some things I didn’t understand, but I got the gist of it.

    I remember when I was seven, I was walking home and I saw an ambulance leave town. I ran to Grandma’s house and ran in the house, there were no open arms, cookies, or the scent of lilacs. I looked everywhere, in the garden, the attic, even in the scary basement. Grandma wasn’t there. Sobbing, I stumbled home, my mother told me that Grandma was sick, very sick, and that she had gone to the hospital. I asked if she was going to die. My mother said she was. I sobbed even harder, I cried so long and so hard I fell asleep on the floor. My father woke me up, he said that Grandma was home. I ran over to Grandma’s house, once again, there were no open arms, or cookies, but I could smell lilacs, and I knew Grandma was there. I quietly went into her bed room where she lay, looking suddenly very pale, and very drained. I hugged her very lightly because I was afraid she would break in half. Grandma finally said something, she said “I’m sorry I can’t give you any cookies, I haven’t had time to bake any.”

    “That's ok Gramma,” I replied, then walked into the kitchen, and brought out the mixing bowl and dug into Grandma’s recipe box. A few hours later I walked into Grandma’s room with a plate of fresh baked cookies. Grandma was absolutely beaming as she feebly nibbled on a cookie. Grandma and I spent the rest of the afternoon munching on cookies and talking.

    The next day, I woke up to crying. I knew Grandma had died. I ran over to her house, there once again were no open arms, no cookies, nor the smell of lilacs. I sat on Grandma’s bed crying for a long time. Finally I walked into the kitchen, turned on first the left tap then the right, and picked up the soap.