Monday, April 13, 2009

A Dish

I have had this dish for a long time. My grandpa Nicholls got it from the Chantal outlet in Houston. My grandpa died in the summer of 2002, but he had lived a mile away from me since I was in 7th grade. I used to go to his house after school, he would often pick me up from junior high. When I think about my grandpa Nicholls I think of his incredible cooking. He would make me chocolate chip cookies that were the most delicious, buttery filled goodness made from heaven. His mashed potatoes and swiss steak were melt in your mouth yum. Grandpa's secret for his mashed potatoes was "to beat the hell out of them" after they had boiled for 20 minutes. Grandpa's cooking abilities began out of necessity after his wife died when I was just 6 months old. My mom always told me that my grandma had said that she was going to live until she saw me, and she did.

My grandpa was instrumental in my life. Having him live so close to us helped me to get to know him better and he likewise. He was so supportive and encouraging of education. His years as teacher and then superintendent in Pennsylvania were who he was, an educator. He sponsored many scholarships to help folks financially in their college endeavors, including two in my own graduating class. Grandpa was nice to every single person that he met. I remember going to the Sears with him to pick up a microwave and he ended up giving the gentleman who carried the microwave to our car money for college! Grandpa drove 3,000 miles from Houston to Alaska when he was 90. He lived a rich life, always loving, always giving, always learning.

I believe that my mom gave me this dish after grandpa's death, he was 98 1/2 when he died. I have used it most recently in the last 3 years anytime I made brownies, cooked asparagus, salmon, chicken... this was my go to dish! And when I would take it out of the oven I would think of my grandpa. I would think about how much I missed him, how I wished we could have one more conversation, how I wished he were still alive.

This dish began cracking about a month ago, and last night the crack ran all the way up to the top of the dish. I realized that it had finished its course, that it would not be safe to cook in it any longer. I put it in the trash, and then took it out. This dish was more than just a dish. This dish had history, this dish had touched holy hands. This dish was bought by my grandpa! So, I took a picture, and then I lovingly placed it in the trash. I miss you grandpa; thank you for continuing to love me and to teach me.


JennyB said...

Homemade bread with homemade strawberry jam while we cleaned windows and wrote addresses on Christmas cards for our "slave" work to raise money for MYF! Okay, so I know this dish wasn't used for that, but it sure was yummy. The blessing of your grandpas sweetness and integrity live on in you.

Kerry Sumpter Smith said...

That was the best jam ever! Thank you for sharing that memory, I forgot about our "slave" work!

Alissa Nicholls Geis said...

Your story of Grandpap brought tears to my eyes remembering him. I wish I could have that one more conversation too!

I have a memory of one of his visits to us in Maine when we baked a cake together. I remember standing at the table in the Airstream and him teaching me how to beat the batter properly. I still think of that every time I bake a cake.

He was one of those people who touched the lives of those around him so deeply and permanently.

Kerry Sumpter Smith said...

Alissa, That's awesome! How do you beat the batter in properly? He definitely was one of those people who made an impact in so many people's lives.

Tiffany said...

What a wonderful and touching story! Hope you and Lee had fun in NoLa!!