My Grandma was a little different., Dad used to say it was in her chromosomes, 

For example at Christmas we didn’t make gingerbread houses, she called them Gingerbread homes.


“We’ll make a nice home for when a gingerbread man and a gingerbread woman wed.

“After all”, she’d say, “even gingerbread families need a nice roof over their heads.”


Grandma would say, ‘It’s my hope that long after I’m gone…long after I am dead 

You’ll remember the lessons you learned as we made homes out of gingerbread”.


And today as my wife and I make gingerbread homes with our grandchildren…as we watch them sprinkle on the snow I remember the lessons Grandma taught us…in her kitchen all those years ago.


She said, “have fun when you’re in the kitchen…don’t worry about making a mess.”

When we asked her to do something she’d say, “it’s easy to say no to your children…sometimes try saying yes.”


On days when our homes fell down and we didn’t think ourselves very good cooks Grandma would say, “a house made with love is never as bad as it looks!”.


It didn’t matter how our homes turned out Grandma was always thrilled…and if she saw we were dejected or crying…she’d help us to rebuild.


“This is another beauty of life and gingerbread homes,” she’d say, “for no matter how many times it takes…every time we rebuild or make a new home…we‘re learning from our mistakes”.


“Every time we make a gingerbread home .” She’d say, “as we make more and more and more…each new home turns out a little better than the home we made before”.


This year our grandchildren outdid themselves…the kitchen was a total mess

and when they asked if they can add more snow to their homes…remembering Grandma we enthusiastically told them YES!.


For its our hope they will remember this moment…these lessons long after their Grandma and I are dead…lesson they will pass on to their grandchildren as they make their homes out of gingerbread.

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Their mom opened up the cookies in the car…

it was tradition on their trips

their children couldn’t wait for that first bite of cookie to meet up with their lips…


The youngest was named Billy, who was blind, 

not as lucky as you and me

being born into a world of darkness…a world he’ll never see.


But they never bemoaned his affliction, 

tried never to get angry, swear or cry.

They decided if Billy needed help seeing…

they would offer him their eyes.


“But this trip would be a little different.” their mom said, 

"Today you’re all in for a surprise

before I pass out the cookies…

I want you all to close your eyes.”


“Today you’ll see the way Billy sees…

a little test you’ll be completing.

Keep your eyes closed and see if you can tell me 

the kind of cookie you are eating.”


“Chocolate chip!” came a quick answer…

the rest of the children nodded their heads.

Then all eyes turned to Billy who smiled…

”It taste’s like Grandma!” is what he said.


Billy quickly sensed his family’s confusion…

but the smile on his face remained…

and when he finished chewing…he immediately explained.


“You know how Grandma always sings when she bakes cookies…

well I learned  long ago

that as she sings I can hear the music settle in the dough…”


Then I hear the music mixing 

when she turns on the beater

which makes any cookie baked by Grandma 


and taste a little sweeter.”


“There’s more to her cookies than you can see 

if you use your ears not just your sight.

when you close your eyes you can taste it...

Grandma’s songs in every bite.”


“OK!” Mom said. “Everyone close your eyes again…

a second test we’ll be completing.

And after handing out the cookies she asked,

“What kind of cookie you are eating?”


As the children ate their cookies in silence…listening…

their faces were easy to read….

“It still tastes like Grandma!” Billy said…


and everyone agreed.

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I loved going over to Grandma’s not just because there was so much to eat and see

but I loved how she always has a book out and how she read to me.


I remember being so excited…sometimes she’d sit me on her knee

And I remember how I used to smile…when Grandma read to me


We’ve traveled around the world…and I learned fact and fantasy…

without ever leaving her house…when Grandma read to me. 


We might visit a castle…or sail in a ship across the sea

or climb the highest mountain…when Grandma read to me


I’ve watched a hungry caterpillar eat…learned how the Lorax speaks for the trees

and how a spider and a pig can be good friends…when Grandma read to me.


I learned how a cat can wear a hat…while a mad hatter likes to drink tea

I learned about a little prince from another world…when Grandma read to me…


I learned all about unicorns…and how to be the best princess I can be

all from the pages of the books…my Grandma read to me…


As I grew up we read less and less…but I think I’m the person I came to be

because I went to Grandmas house…because she read to me.


Grandma doesn’t see as good as she used to…

Like me, I imagine, she loves remembering how we were….

now I see the excitement in her smile


every time I read to her.

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“Why did Grandma have to die?” the young boy asked his Dad

He could see his son was hurting…he could see his son was sad…


“I’m not sure why our bodies give out,” he said… “only that one day they all do

but even though Grandma is gone…she lives inside of you?”


“She’s in the way you smile…in the way you laugh…the way you cry.

She’s in the way you walk and talk…I can see her in your eyes.”


The son smiled…then said, “Dad, tell me this…there’s something I’d like to know…

now that she’s no longer here…where did Grandma go?”


“There are many beliefs and thoughts on that.” Dad said “Some think to heaven some to the stars.

But I believe…I like to think…Grandma hasn’t traveled very far.”


“We begin as part of the Universe…particles floating in time and space

Then a miracle occurs….and we are put upon this place.”


“We are blessed to live…we know not how long…we know not where or when

our time upon this Earth will be over and we’ll join the Universe again.”


“Your grandma was here long enough…not long enough for you and me

but long enough to share herself…to become a memory.”


“And though it’s true…she’s gone from Earth…all those memories she made

will stay with us forever..will never wither…never fade…”


“She has blended back into the Universe to become the wind within the trees

She is the rain, she is the cool breeze…she is the flowers and the trees.”


“She is the sunshine that warms your cheeks, she is the moonlight shining bright

She is the clouds that float gently overhead…she is the stars…she is the night.”


She is the sky, she is the snowflakes, she is the fall leaves upon the ground

she is the moon…she is the day…you will find her all around…”


“No, you needn’t worry about Grandma, Dad said, because every minute of every day


though she may be gone forever… she is never far away…”

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She was always giving

always accepting, 

always compassionate 

and kind.

She was love 

and sympathy 

and caring 

and charity 



Whenever we would thank her

she would hold us close 

and she would whisper in our ear…

Isn’t that the reason dear…


the reason we’re all here?

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After we’d finished dinner at Grandma’s table one night

she looked about to cry

but a smile slowly crossed her face as a tear dropped from her eye…


You’ve grown up much too fast she said as she gave the top of our heads a kiss…

I know that’s the way it’s supposed to be….but there are some things that I miss….


I miss being able to hold you on my lap

It used to bring me joy

I miss cleaning the crumbs off your dinner plates

I miss picking up your toys…


I miss how every moment between us

was exciting, surprising…and new

I miss how tired your grandpa and I were

when our time with you was through.


I’m glad to see how you’ve grown up

our moments together have been unsurpassed

I’m happy for the all times we have…

just sad they’re over so fast.


Since that conversation with Grandma,

every time we leave her door.

we make sure there are some extra crumbs upon our plates

and a few toys upon the floor.


And Mom and Dad are never angry….

when they notice toys in Grandmas hands…

because one look at the smile on her face

and they seem to understand.




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She often wondered why her grandma stopped so often on their walks


looked all around…

then smiled

Why her face would suddenly brighten 

with the innocence of a child.


Why she would close her eyes for a moment

for a moment without talking

and when she opened them again she’d smile


and continue walking.


One day she found the courage to ask her

ask her why she acted this way

her answer is the reason

she walks like her grandma did 



“Time moves by so quickly,” she told her

“moments moving swiftly in front of me…

so occasionally I like to take time out 


and capture a memory.”

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I remember the aroma of Grandma’s cookies…in the oven baking

and in the jar upon the counter…ready for the taking.


For any occasion or no occasion…I’m not exaggerating

when I walked into her house…she had those cookies waiting.


When Grandma became sick…when she couldn’t bake cookies anymore

one day on my way to visit…I stopped by the cookie store.


I found the most beautiful cookies sitting near the windowpane…

smiling sunflower cookies…wrapped in cellophane.


I brought two of them to Grandma…she said, “Oh honey, what a treat.”

“I”ll cherish them forever…’cause they’re much to beautiful to eat.”


I didn’t think much about them till she was gone and there on her windowpane

I happened on two sunflower cookies…wrapped in cellophane.


“She wasn’t kidding.” I whispered to myself as I wipe away a tear

thinking of all the cookies she’d baked…all those cookies…all those years.


I laid one in her coffin…so when she got to heaven she would see

her cookie wrapped in cellophane and she would think of me.


And I kept the other cookie…wrapped in cellophane as it were…


so every time I look at it…I will think of her.

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