"Don't get me wrong, I had a darn good childhood."
As children, my brother Michael and I would spend the night over there, usually in the summer. While watching TV in the evening, we would eat vanilla ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate. It was a special occasion to watch either The Sound of Music or The Wizard of Oz with her.
Once a year, a network station would air these movies. It seems we were at Mi-ma’s house every time these came on. I loved the song “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music. I was absorbed by the music and the words. I knew that Christopher Plummer didn't actually sing in the movie but I didn't care. It was beautiful. How I wanted to be one of the Von Trapp kids. But don’t get me wrong, I had darn good childhood.
At Mi-ma’s, we would usually drink milk or refrigerated tap water. The water was cold and fresh. I remember seeing the sparse minerals settled at the bottom of the pitcher. On occasion, as a treat, she would have Coca-Cola for supper. That cold, crisp taste from a bottle was hard to beat.
Mi-ma was a good cook. When adding ingredients, she would often do so from memory. I would watch her, trying to learn. As I asked her questions, she was patient and kind to answer. I wanted to cook like Mi-ma. I would ask how much of this and how much of that? She would earnestly say, “Just a pinch” or “a dash" or maybe “a smidgen.”
Holidays were special at Mi-ma’s. Her cooking made the house smell wonderful. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, she would have baked chicken, not turkey. As an occasional treat, she would make a caramel pie, with hand whipped meringue that would nearly reach the ceiling.
She was making tater salad one afternoon. It seems we all have different opinions about tater salad - in particular, mustard or mayo. As I watched, she took her time adding and mixing everything together. I asked her if she preferred mustard on mayo in her tater salad. She used both. She said it takes both to make it taste right. You can focus too much on the mustard or too much on the mayo. The two ingredients should work together.
A year or so later, I was talking with Mi-ma about problems in my marriage; complaining for the most part. She looked at me dead-eyed and said, "Tater Salad. It takes both mustard and mayo to make it right. Don’t focus too much on the mustard or too much on the mayo. The two should work together." I suppose marriage is a lot like tater salad.