You asked about your Gram ("Pib" as your Grandfather lovingly called
her). It seems right that you asked now, because this is the time of year
that I think of her most.
Maybe that is because we all like to think of the hearth in Winter, when it's
warmth becomes the center of interest after a long day of chilling outdoor
work. Whoever said that a woodstove heats twice was partly correct, it heats
at least three times by my counting, but the last heat, the heat of the
fire, is always the best. Gramp and your Mom and I would hustle into Pib's
world, the kitchen, the comfort, our hands smelling of the baby-powder smell
of cherry wood, or of the sweet barbecue smell of white oak.
Seconds later, the fever of the kitchen's warmth would thaw our skin enough
to allow an appreciative smile. Our senses would revive, that of smell most
importantly, because your Gram had been busy in her domain, her efforts had
filled the air with such delicious aromas. Her biscuits, her "wet" cornbread,
the bay-leafed stews or the sassafrassed gumbos were our favorites. Every
winter day was like Christmas, there was always a present ready and waiting in
That's what I always remember about her: warmth and good smells, better
smells than fine perfumes. If any woman could wear the sweet of the kitchen,
she would have my heart! I remember too how your Gram would hold your
Grandfathers hands to her face to warm them a bit, but also to always amaze
your Mom and me with her simple declaration: "Cherry". She was never wrong.