Blueberry PancakesPosted on June 21, 2023
Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s was a world unto itself. Bikes with no helmets, water hose refreshments, streetlight curfews. Like the song says, “…not just a different time, it was a different world”. But nothing was better than our trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s house! We loved going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house! Walking through the front door, we were immediately greeted with the smell of Grandpa’s cherry cavendish pipe tobacco. A smell that, to this day, reminds me of him. Grandma and Grandpa had satellite TV. They had a front room that we could play in while the adults talked about boring adult stuff in the den. In the front bedroom, there was a toy chest with special toys that we only got to play with when we were there. Even the back yard, barely 12 feet by 20 feet, was a treasure trove for our young minds. This was Grandma and Grandpa’s house!
The thing that made these excursions so special, however, wasn’t the TV or the toys. The thing that made the trip so special was that every time we would visit, Grandpa would make his famous blueberry pancakes. The first morning we were there, I would wake up to find this tower of a man standing dutifully over a skillet tending to a pancake. A stack of them already on the table, ready for a growing boy to dig into. Sometimes bacon and eggs were the accompaniment to the “complete balanced breakfast.”
It was a simple thing, but in my child’s mind, these pancakes were the best thing devised by human hands, and my grandpa was the one to devise them. If America had been inundated with cooking shows and baking competitions in the 80’s and 90’s the way it is now, I would have insisted that he audition for one of them with his blueberry pancakes.
Obviously, I know now that he did not, in fact, invent the culinary masterpiece, but there is nothing that can convince me that blueberry pancakes were anything but his way of saying, “I love you, and I’m glad you’re here.”
Some years later we moved into that house after they moved to a house that he had built. But it wasn’t the same house. The address was the same. The floorplan was the same. And the front bedroom with the special toybox became my bedroom. But it was no longer Grandma and Grandpa’s house. The smell of his pipe tobacco had faded, the satellite TV was gone, and I don’t remember waking up to blueberry pancakes anymore. I had grown up.
My grandfather passed away in the summer of 2021. I was blessed enough to be there with him in his final moments. When the family gathered for the wake a week later: I woke up, fired up the griddle and made blueberry pancakes for everyone to say, “I love you and I’m glad you’re here”. As we gather with friends and family throughout the year, make some blueberry pancakes, whatever form that might take.
By: Jared Wise
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