Friday, January 27, 2012

Good morning, Mrs. Pumpernickel

There are times in our lives when getting out of bed is such a pain. The bed is perfectly toasty and the work ahead is simply too daunting. But, there was a time when the world was too new and exciting for the bed to contain us for too long. It's been many years since I've had that feeling, but I remember.

I remember waking on cool mornings, smelling sausage on the stove top and sweet cinnamon in the oven. On those days, I'd toddle out of bed, slip on my quilted robe, straighten my braids and gently place my baby doll in her buggy. Then I'd gather all my dignity and stroll down the hall to the kitchen where my grandmother, my best friend in the world, would be waiting for me.

"Good morning, Mrs. Pumpernickel. How is your baby this morning?" she'd ask, leaning over the counter to catch a glimpse of my doll.

"She's very well, Lucille. How are you?" I'd reply in the most grown-up voice I could muster. This, after all, was the only time I ever called my grandmother anything other than Gegon.

Yes, Gegon. My oldest cousin couldn't quite manage 'Grandmother' when he was a toddler and his best attempt, 'Gegon', stuck. The moniker was as unique as the woman. She was the smartest, funniest woman in my world. I simply idolized her. Still do.

"I'm fine. Would you like some breakfast?" she'd inquiry in her best diner waitress voice.

"Oh yes, please," I'd say, as I climbed onto the stool in our kitchen.

It was just the two of us on these mornings. After my parents divorced when I was three, my grandmother came to live with us during the school year. My mother was a teacher and my sister was six years older and already getting close to junior high. So, it was usually just Gegon and me in our pretend diner.

After my scrambled eggs, cinnamon toast and sausage, I'd gather up my robe again and check on my baby before starting the not-so-long walk down the hall to get dressed for my real day.

"Thank you for breakfast, Lucille. It was delicious."

"You're welcome, Mrs. Pumpernickel. You take care."

And, every day, I promised I would.

As the years passed, I didn't always do a good job of keeping that promise and I paid the price. Seven years ago, I was thirty pounds overweight, moody, depressed and suffering from chronic sinusitis. Today, I'm at a healthy weight. I feel good, not great mind you, but good. There was hard work involved in getting from there to here, much of which I will write about in the coming weeks or months. But, there is still a great deal to do to keep my promise. That's what this blog is about. It's not about being a foodie and certainly not about perfection. It is about me trying to make the best choices I can for my health and that of my family. It's about keeping a promise to Gegon to take care.

I hope you'll come back and join me regularly and share your experiences too.

Until then, take care.  -Mrs. Pumpernickel

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