I remember the big welcoming frog by their front door. My brothers and I would straddle it's back and pretend to ride it. We would watch birds build their nests in the eaves of the covered courtyard. And all this we would do with a can of soda dripping down our chins. There was always endless soda pop available in the garage.
It made me smile when we pulled up to Grandpa and Grandma's house to see that big frog still welcoming everyone by the door.
We stayed with my grandparents from Wednesday night to Sunday afternoon. Grandpa was (and still is) recovering from his heart surgery, so he was VERY low on energy. He walks with a walker now, but he doesn't like to use it. While we were there, his walker snagged on the wall corner, and he fell and couldn't get up. This was at midnight. My grandma came and woke Steve and I and between the 3 of us, we were able to get my grandpa back up on his feet.
Grandpa has always liked to cook for his guests, and it was no different when we were there. I knew he wanted very badly to do more, but he really needed to be resting. However, when we woke up the first morning, he cooked up a pot of oatmeal for everyone, since that's something my family eats fairly often. He has a bar stool next to the stove that he sits on with his legs off to one side, as he cooks over the flame.
While grandpa cooked our breakfast, I perused some of his cookbooks. I liked this one put together from the relief society sisters from their old ward in Kaneohe, Hawaii. That would have been the ward that my mom was baptized in, and shortly after where she met my dad, fell in love, and got married.
While we were there, one of grandpa's friends came by with a sack of large freestone peaches from his orchard. Although they were good, and impeccable in size and form, they paled in flavor to grandpa's peaches.
As for the other food, there was a bowl full of crisp iceberg salad was dressed with an amazing light vinegarette (my favorite). There was lamb stew (also my favorite), cabbage soup, french fried potatoes, a bowl of flavorful savory beans, excellent potato salad, and even little cups of ice cream for dessert at the end.
|Pass the lamb stew!|
Much of my time was spent looking through photo albums and absorbing any family history I could get my hands on. Grandma showed me a set of her old dollhouse furniture she played with when she was a little girl. She keeps it on the top shelf a of a curio in her bedroom. The doll furniture is so remarkable. It's all wooden, nothing like the neon plastic stuff you see so much these days.
"Grandpa Lauret, also known as 'Papa,' or 'Henry,' had a liquor store on the corner of Market and Santa Clara, right downtown San Jose, California. It wasn't right on the corner cause right on the corner was the fire station and the liquor store was right behind it. He ran a restaurant and liquor store and bar. He knew a little bit about cooking. When he bought that place, it had a clock in it. We have that clock now in our house at the end of the hall. It's been fixed and repaired so it's supposed to work, but it's not hanging perpendicular. Close to the turn of the century, it's an antique worth a few thousand. That clock has a unique poured glass, not rolled glass."
Our last night there, Grandpa thought we should grill up a tri-tip roast he had. Although Grandpa started off with intentions of manning the grill, he realized he needed to rest, so I got to man the grill. When we switched spots, I went to check on the meat, and it was engulfed in flame. I quickly lowered the heat, turned the meat, and babysat it until the meat thermometer gave me the OK-good signal. It took close to an hour to cook at the lower heat, but it turned out very good. We all sat at the table and enjoyed our meal together, on pink knitted placemats that grandma made. We had mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and Grandpa's delicious cauliflower salad.
Grandma's short term memory is definitely weakening, but she still can recollect things from her past really well. She still does her handiwork projects with precision, although sometimes it takes her a little longer than it used to. Grandpa took lots of naps in his chair while we were there, which is good.
Steve was just about as laid up as grandpa. Unfortunately our jaunting about at the cloudy beach was sun poisoning Steve's fragile skin. Steve was completely covered from head to toe, long sleeves, long pants, sun hat and all. But he rolled his pants up just past his ankles and went running in the water with the girls. That was all it took. His feet got so badly burned, he couldn't walk on them the remainder of our trip without extreme pain. His feet swelled up, they turned red and splotchy. He never got blisters, but from what we read on the internet, he had the symptoms of sun poisoning, which is basically a sunburn that your body reacts to as poison. We used aloe every few hours, other burn medicines, he felt relief mostly when his feet were up and nothing touching them.He literally spent the entire time in bed, except for dinner, which he just endured the pain (bless him!). And when he had to get up to help my grandpa up in the middle of the night. Sunburned Steve= NO BUENO!
Our time flew by while we were there. We left a couple hours after lunch on Sunday after we went to church in the morning. I took grandma and the girls to church, which is about 15 minutes away. It took grandma a long time to get ready, and she had to keep being reminded that we were going to church. We were late, but we did get there. There was only a smattering of people there. I'm used to a lot fuller congregation.
Before we left, it was nice that we got to visit with Uncle Everett and Aunty Edith. They came by for a visit and it worked out that we could sit and chat for an hour before getting on the road. They told us about their upcoming plans for a family reunion at a cabin on the lake. They seem to be doing very well and are in good health.
We packed up and got on the road to the next stop, Anaheim, California... Disneyland! It was a very long drive in some nasty traffic, and we didn't check into our hotel until close to 10pm. Grandpa sent us with a brown bag with some peaches. They were a real treat to have as snacks in the car, at Disney while waiting in lines, and for breakfast. Still wishing I had some more...