Pioneer Girl friends, we just had such an amazing #GrandmaDay. There was such a connection between my kids and their great-grandma, a cherished photo was snapped, and I think (and super hope) that a lasting memory was made.
Every Wedneseday we have my beautiful 90-year-old Grandma over for lunch, also known as #GrandmaDay, my kids’ favorite day of the week. She comes over around 10 in the morning and stays until about 1pm, and while I cook she does puzzles and coloring with the kids, tells us stories about her parents and what life was like when she was young, and occasionally shares a signature recipe with us. Today we had all of that and more.
These days Grandma is doing a little something I call un-nesting. We lost her husband, “Cowboy Grandpa,” four years ago this past summer, and she misses him dearly. She loves us and everything, but if he called her home today she would gladly go to him. In her preparations for returning home, she is slowly passing along her belongings to her descendants — and since she comes here every week, we are inheriting a lot of great things from her. This week she brought us her cookie press.
Grandma has made Cookie Press Cookies since the 1950s, when her neighbor brought home this new fancy machine. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner were dear friends who lived in the house next door, and whenever Mr. Gardner found something new and interesting at the department store, he would pick up one for his wife and one for Grandma. Grandma says if she wanted it she could pay him for it, or if she wasn’t interested he would sell it to someone else or return it to the store. One day his find was a cookie press.
Grandma and Grandpa had built their home in downtown Chandler, Arizona in 1950, and very shortly thereafter Grandpa’s mother, Elsie, who we call Grandmother, had to move from their dairy farm and into town for health reasons. Grandmother had been widowed young and when Cowboy Grandpa, her youngest son, married and moved “to town,” it wasn’t safe for her to be out there alone anymore. She sold the farm and built just down the street from her son and new daughter-in-law.
Grandma was a Mormon, had been born and raised in the Church, and while Grandmother wasn’t fond of the religion, she quickly became fond of the new daughter-in-law. Grandma’s second language is service, and she has always found many small ways to endear herself to everyone around her. Elsie was no exception, and the day Grandma took her first batch of cookie press cookies to share, Elsie was even more impressed.
Elsie and her husband had been early and influential residents of the area, and she remained active in political and social circles in the community throughout her life, even after her husband’s passing. She frequently hosted parties for ladies’ activist groups and luncheons for the ladies from her Methodist Church congregation. Every time she was going to have a ladies’ group over, she would order up a few batches of cookie press cookies from her daughter-in-law. She found them the perfect light and elegant treat to serve the ladies.
Grandma continued to make cookie press cookies as a Christmas treat for her friends and family until just a few years ago when cooking and baking became more of a struggle as she approached 90 years old. The cookie press has sat in the pantry for the last few years, until Grandma brought it to us this week. We cleaned it up again and tracked down a recipe and had a wonderful morning mixing up the dough, having Grandma show us how to work the press, and sampling the tasty results. And after these few hours of working and talking and laughing together, I feel closer to my great-Grandmother, and my Grandma, and my kids. I hope they’ll remember this morning spent with their great-Grandma. I think they will.
What a wonderful story! My family had a cookie press when I was growing up, and this brought back many fond Christmas cookie memories. 🙂