|Grandmother's living room circa 1955 and circa 2016|
That's actually what we all had to call her. In her thick Southern US accent she'd say, "I'll not have any of y'all be embarrassed by what you call me. I was SO embarrassed to say 'Big Mama' in front of my friends when I was younger." I never did tell her that my friends actually thought "Grandmother" was a bit odd and so her plan to save me from embarrassment didn't really come off like she had hoped.
|2012 Nearly all the Great-Grands. (2 of mine were not yet born)|
It's a simple recipe. One Grandmother would mix up in batches, bake and freeze. Then pop one out of the freezer and ice it whenever she needed to take a food item somewhere like a shower, church potluck, or most famously, to the home of a grieving family in our community.
It's how the Death Cake got it's name.
Like lightning that scrumptious yellow cake would show up on your doorstep in her hands. She was so consistent in this that somewhere along the line the cake got a moniker it couldn't shake. She'd make like she wanted us to stop calling it that, but I think she thought it was funny. Her act of being dedicated to those around her. Loving and coming alongside in the saddest of moments. Faithfully.
|Family on her 88th Birthday. She died a few days before her 89th.|
So when my sister was with her on Grandmother's own deathbed, it didn't surprise me to hear that she was ready to go. Unafraid. After a coughing fit she looked up at my sister and said, "I just wanna fly away!" She was ready to meet her Lord.
Sitting on the edge of her lifetime, looking out in hope, sure that relief was coming.
Granted, yes, she was a frail, elderly woman. But when I think about the condition of her soul, it had only grown stronger through her almost 9 decades. So many many days she put her feet in front of the other and walked through joy, and laughter and pain and loss while constantly turning to her Bible to hear from her Friend and King. So much life lived. So much proof to my watching eyes that the grandest of lives are the ones lived with hope that does not fade. Hope makes a difference and she was thankful for it.
|With Isaac, 2012|
|Recipe in Grandmother's hand. Not super neat but so familiar all the same. One Christmas I, Sharon, got a lazer tag game and my cousin Shawn got some Care Bear Roller skates. She started adding our middle names to her Christmas presents after that.|
|My sister and cousins nearly done frosting a (doubled) Death Cake shortly after her death last month|
Pineapple Cake, Affectionately known As Death Cake
1/2 Cup Crisco Oil (Vegetable Oil)
1 can mandarin oranges
1 box of Duncan Hines yellow butter cake mix (probably any yellow cake mix would work)
Mix together, pour into 2 greased cake pans, bake @ 350F/180C for 25 minutes (3 cake pans if you double the recipe)
1 Can crushed pineapples
Mix in 2 packs of vanilla instant pudding.
Mix in 1, 8oz tub of Cool Whip