She sat in her recliner, the yellow blanket crocheted by my other grandmother wrapped snugly around her bony legs because she is always cold. I think the thermostat is set at a brisk 78 or so. Her hair looked as if it has recently been in hot rollers, and her hands were folded primly on her lap as she stared off into space. When I entered, carrying my usual box of home baked goodies, her eyes brightened up in recognition and a smile played around the corners of her mouth.
I brought you some goodies today.
What did you bring, dear?
Almond thumbprint cookies, filled with cherry jam.
Hmmm....I don't know if I like almond cookies.
Suspicious as my Nana was, her long fingers, knobby now with painful arthritis but sporting freshly manicured coral colored nails, snatched one off the top and popped it in her mouth. A crumb or two fell on her striped blouse, which had been neatly pressed by my mother on her "day off" the weekend before. She peeked in the box to see how many were left, and seemed to be considering whether she would share any with the other residents in her elder care home. Satisfied that there was enough in the box, she smiled and nodded, indicating that I could take the package to the kitchen. I held up her water glass to her lips and she sipped daintily, then requested a tissue so she could dab her mouth.
And so it goes, our little weekly ritual...I bring cookies, we chat for a bit and usually watch some type of television show. Even though her memory is fading (along with her hearing and eyesight), she often surprises me with an interesting story from her childhood or from mine. She was such a loving and gentle grandmother when I was a girl and I absolutely loved to go for a visit at her house, especially when she would take me for a whole weekend. We would eat her delicious pancakes for breakfast with real maple syrup and blueberries and then we would bring a whole bag of bread to feed the ducks at the pond. She would let me dress up in all her fabulous silk scarves, elbow length opera gloves and costume jewelry, heavily laden with rhinestone jewels, and tip toe through the house wearing her Ferragamos. I felt like a princess, a very loved and special one.
I hope that she feels a little like a very loved and special princess when I come bearing goodies each week--even when she forgets that I stopped by.
Almond Thumbprint Cookies
1/2 C butter, softened
1/3 C lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 t almond extract
1 C unbleached flour
1/2 C toasted almond meal (toasted ground almonds)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add extract, flour and almond meal and mix until combined. Roll dough into small balls. Place on silicone lined baking sheets (or grease the sheets) and press thumb into each ball to make an indentation. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and press thumb gently into indentation again to reshape. When cool fill with the jam of your choice. Raspberry, apricot or cherry jams would be lovely.