Grandma’s Hidden Ingredient

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Grandma’s Hidden Ingredient

Grandma Ardella had a secret.  Some elderly women have little tips and tricks that they keep to themselves.  A homemade recipe would not be the same without a secret ingredient here or there.  While Grandma Ardella had those kinds of undisclosed bits of information, hers was one that she knew would shock the community around her.

In every other way, Grandma Ardella was a perfectly respectable person.  Approaching eighty, the stout woman had long ago taken on a curly gray wig.  There were many days when she thought about putting aside her one point of vanity.  Sometimes she felt like the few wispy hairs that remained should be exposed to the world and save her the preparation it took to look presentable.  But she was also a woman that believed in putting forth a pleasant appearance.  This notion was carried out in the constant cleanliness of her house, the well-manicured state of her garden and lawn, and yes, even in her wig.

Grandma Ardella’s fingers were having an all-too rare day of spryness.  Normally her arthritis would cause her thin hands to tighten and cramp up; almost like someone was trying to pull her skin and joints tight into an eagle’s talon.  Today it seemed she was to be granted a reprieve and she planned to take advantage of it.  She found her favorite white apron and wrapped it around her floral print dress.  The two pieces of apparel flapped about her curvy frame; they didn’t care what activity the woman had planned so long as they could swish and swoosh along with her.

She suspected that her hands might cry out with an extra vengeance tomorrow, but Grandma Ardella decided it would be worth it.  She started making a batch of dough from scratch and kneaded the dough with her hands.  If she didn’t bake apple pie for the young ones, who would?

The children in her Arizona neighborhood revered her as some sort of real-life Mary Poppins or Piggle-Wiggle.  She had managed to raise eight children and survived without anyone seeing a hint of a temper from her.  Grandma Ardella had a soft spot for the little ones to this day and quite enjoyed letting them play in her big backyard, so long as they picked up after themselves.

Her kitchen always smelled like a bakery and many a visitor had delighted at the scent that greeted them when they came over.  Grandma Ardella, also lovingly referred to by “Grammar” by the cheekier members of the community, had heard stories from her friends.  There were plenty of elderly folks that lived alone, received no visitors, and waited for something to happen in their lives.  Not Grandma Ardella.  If no one had come around in a few weeks, which was quite rare, she would find an excuse to throw a party.  Be it a Spring has Sprung Picnic, a Graduates are Great Barbeque, or a Holiday Dance of Lights, Grandma Ardella liked having people around.  She had found that those people liked having baked goods around, so she tried to have something in the oven as often as possible.

After she had placed the pie crust in the pan, Grandma Ardella put her bony hands on her hips and looked at her progress with satisfaction.  She wiped the trace amounts of flour off on her apron.  Then she went about making dents in the crust.  She had just the right knuckles for this and soon the bumpy edge looked perfect as the dough cascaded up and down in an even fashion.  She then pulled her paring knife out of her drawer and started peeling and slicing the apples.  Grandma Ardella thanked God for the relief in her hands and the apples were soon ready to go.  She was thankful for how fast she was working.  It was almost time for her daily indulgence.  If she could complete this task for others, then she could indulge in her own private shame.

Yes, for all the good that Grandma Ardella did, she still had the need to drop her refined veneer.  She would quilt for the church, she would bake for the high school fundraisers, and she would hug all who asked.  Yet she would never admit to anyone what she did when company was not around.

The timing had worked out just right.  She put strips of dough over the apples and quickly admired her well-crafted pie.  She hurriedly put the pie in the oven, set the timer, and scurried to the living room.  The apron and her floral print dress held a rushed conversation.  The dress swished in confusion while the apron could only rustle in reply.  Perhaps Grandma Ardella couldn’t admit it to the public, but her behavior was no secret to the apron.  There was nothing this woman loved more than the newest episode of When Sharks Go Wild.


About Cosand
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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