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Thursday, February 24, 2005

like the old folks say

When my mother was a little girl my grandparents immigrated to Ontario from Northern Ireland. They bought a big house; a dishwasher; antique furniture; multiple cars; every symbol of success in their native country.

The other day we hopped on a train and got off in Port Hope. Arriving at my grandparents large, brick, Victorianesque home, there was a new garage built. "For the Cadillac," my grandfather explains, "but I had to take it out because we bought a new suite at an antique shop." Inside the house every nook and cranny is stuffed with an antique vase, expensive china, or bright plastic flowers.

My grandfather shows me around and tells me about the house's immensity in square feet. I don't know what else to do but to coo in return. "Oh, wow, yes, very big." Dare I say that my idea of heaven is a small sparse apartment of my own?

"I baked some Irish bread for you this morning," says my grandmother smiling. The whole family loves her Irish bread. I think I nearly killed her when I thought low carb was a way of life. But two large loaves, one wheaten, one raisin, sit nestled in large tupperware containers on the worn kitchen counter. I can barely wait to a slice a piece, slather it with butter in jam, and wash it down with a hot cup of tea. My grandmother has always expressed love through cooking, baking, and providing a warm meal for her family. I love her for doing so. For continuing to wake up early in the morning to make her traditional bread.

I love both of them, caught up in tradition; still proving their status by old world means.

But I also love them, open to the new, to me, to learning how to use the internet and taking a sip from my ginger green tea.

Look closely, my grandmother is framed in the mirror.
On the phone with my dad.
My mother, Twiggy eyes and all.


Anonymous Georgia said...

I love visiting my grandparents. It's suprisingly refreshing to be in a place where tradition is so important.

Maybe I'll see you in Paris, in a cafe a few down from mine, chowing on a croissant and writing a story.


12:48 PM  

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