A Walk in the Park—Starting the Season

Art from A Piece of Cake by Jill Murphy

By Marty Halverson

Don’t look now . . . the season’s just begun!

Back in the day, Christmas started at Grama’s house. She was “chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,” soft and squishy like a well-loved stuffed toy. She had gray hair most of the time, although I do recall her having a tinge of blue or pink when that was the grandmother trend. Dresses and aprons were her daily attire, with nylons rolled at the knee so they would stay up without a girdle. She wore black shoes with laces and stacked heels.

I remember going to her house at Christmastime to bake sugar cookies. First flour was sprinkled on her kitchen table and then I got to create shapes with her unique cookie cutters. While she transferred them to the cookie sheet, I’d eat the scraps. (Scraps from dough that has already been rolled out are better than the actual cookies.)

Grama decorated them like an artist, with paint brushes. Her Santa Claus cookies set the standard for the rest of my life: coconut enhanced his beard, red hots and silver ball candies trimmed his hat. The frosting was made with real butter so they tasted as good as they looked.

She could decorate cookies very fast, and my feeble attempts usually left me disappointed and impatient—until I ate them. We saved hers on a plate for me to take home, and I made sure mine disappeared.

An unheated room behind the kitchen was used to store old furniture and boxes of clothes. That is where Grama set up a table with a big marble slab where she would dip chocolates.

First we made fudge, caramel, divinity and nut centers, and then the marble was smeared with melted chocolate. Grama quickly rolled the center in the chocolate and made a tiny swirl decoration on top to indicate which center was inside. It was fun to watch her at work.
I’m the age my Grama was when we made Christmas goodies together. It would be so fun to visit her as she was then, and as I am now. I really think we would be good friends! She’d love my neighbors here in Garden Park.

There are bundles of grandkids, great-nieces and hyper nephews who will be dropping in on loved ones in Garden Park this month. With ducks flying over the lake, lights glittering on Soda Row, and cider simmering on the stove, it’s time to get out your rolling pin, put on your apron and make a batch of sweet memories. ‘Tis the season!

Merry Christmas, Grama.


Marty Halverson and her husband Dee are residents of Garden Park. Marty writes other stuff, too, which you can read at TravelinOma and HeritageAssociates. Visit her website: Marty Halverson

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