Great Grandma VG with her Great Grandchildren (Left)
Great-Great Grandma with her Great-Great Grandchild (Right)
A year ago in March, our family got together for a Sunday meal. Five generations ranging in age from 103 years old to the new little one who was born the month before. My husband’s grandmother had become a great-great grandma, and others got new titles too, so there was much to celebrate.
I made Great-Great Grandma’s (aka Grandma VG) favorite salad that day, one that I had made many times before. Grandma VG loved that cabbage salad and always raved about how delicious it was. Grandma VG named the ingredients one by one with each bite she took. The sunflower seeds were at the top of the list. The salad is full of flavor and doesn’t get boring probably because of all the butter, oil, and salt it contains! On that Sunday in March though, Grandma VG didn’t comment about the salad and that was a sign to me that she wasn’t feeling like herself.
Whenever Grandma VG came over before she turned into a great-great grandma, when our kids were little, she always brought along her money jar. We’d have our same routine. Grandma came into the house, took off her wrap, greeted all of us (even Music, our dog, who loved her too), and asked us how we were doing. We visited for a while, ate dinner together, and when we were done, Grandma went to get her purse. She asked all the kids to gather around our kitchen table, and she pulled out a little jelly jar filled with coins. The kids’ eyes lit up and she told us how she went shopping, and this was her leftover money. Grandma VG loved to shop and liked to look at the new styles. Most times she had a story to share about something she found interesting or new with the mall or something she found.
The kids would remember whose turn it was to count out the coins. The coins got divided up into three even piles with even amounts. If there was anything extra, it went back in the money jar. “We’ll save that for next time,” Grandma would say. I always thought this was a great way for the children to learn how to count money and how to share, and I bet that was Grandma VG’s plan too.
Around this time last year, Grandma VG passed away. After her funeral, Matt, our youngest, inherited the money jar. It only contained a few coins, but it held a lot of memories. Grandma knew how to make people feel special. One thing that always made me feel special was when she introduced me to others as her granddaughter, who I was by marriage, but she rarely mentioned the marriage part. We miss her and her stories. We still love her, and we’ll hold that love close and guard it, just like we’ll hold close the gifts and memories of the money jar.
Death ends a life, not a relationship. ~ Jack Lemmon
And now, here’s the recipe:
2 packages of coleslaw mix
bunch of green onions, chopped
2 packages Ramen noodles (chicken base), broken up
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 small package slivered almonds
½ cup butter
Brown chopped green onion, noodles, sunflower seeds and almonds in ½ cup of butter on low heat.
1 cup salad oil
3 teaspoons soy sauce
packets of chicken base from Ramen noodles package
2/3 cup sugar
Mix dressing ingredients, pour over coleslaw mix and onion, noodles, and nut mix. Can be prepared ahead; mix with dressing just before serving.