Breakfast with Grandfather


I was three years old and it was 7:30 AM and my Dad had dressed me and driven me to Grandmother’s.  He walked me to the door, dropped a kiss on the top of my head and made a hasty retreat to the car. He was getting into the drivers seat when Grandmother arrived at the front door to welcome me.

Dad was laughing and Grandmother was mumbling as he jumped into the car and backed out of the drive way onto Stolp Street. He had done it again…………. he’d got her Irish dander up.

Grandmother sat down in her favorite chair and pulled me in front of her to go through our morning ritual. First she untied the upside down bow in the back and then unbuttoned my dress. She turned me around to face her and took my arms out of the little puffy sleeves. Then she turned the dress 180 degrees and buttoned it up the front where it belonged. Then she turned me one more time and tied the bow.

Now I was ready to go into breakfast with Grandfather who was already sitting at the table stirring his cup of coffee and waiting for me to arrive so we could eat together. Breakfast was always the same every morning because it was what Grandfather wanted to eat.

I ran into the kitchen, threw myself at him and gave him a hug. He patted me on the back (which was about as demonstrative as he ever got) and told me to get in my chair. After the greeting I skipped around his chair to my place at the table.

Grandfather always sat at the side of the table and Grandmother sat at the end near the stove and I sat at the other end right by the back door, which was always open in the summer.

I climbed up on the chair and then onto the little stool Grandfather had built for me. The stool was 12 inches square and about 6 inches high and was painted pink. It was a perfect height for me.

When I was seated Grandmother brought her green and white gingham apron and tied it around my neck. It was big enough to be a long dress for me and covered me completely. Once I had my arms free Grandmother gave me a glass of milk.

Now that I was seated Grandfather started his first course which was a bowl of all bran. I couldn’t decide if it was sticks or dried worms and never wanted to try it so I just drank my glass of milk while he ate the cereal. Grandmother was cooking at the stove.

The next course was soft boiled eggs and toast. He was given two eggs, which he took out of the shell and stirred up in a large bowl, then he tore up a piece of toast adding it to the eggs and then salt and pepper.

During the time the toast was soaking up the eggs Grandfather took a few sips of coffee and buttered a piece of toast for me. I munched on my toast as he ate his eggs and toast. Just as Grandfather finished the half raw eggs and toast Grandmother took a pan of biscuits out of the oven.

While the eggs had been boiling Grandmother was frying sausage patties. After the patties were cooked she crumbled some sausage into the skillet to fry it for gravy. Once the crumbled sausage was fried she added some flour, salt and pepper and then the milk and began to stir the gravy.

As soon as his eggs and toast were eaten Grandmother placed a plate of biscuits and gravy and a single sausage patty on the table in front of him. He had 2 ½ biscuits on his plate, 3 halves that had gravy on them and a whole one resting on the edge of the plate.

My plate had half a biscuit with gravy on it and a whole biscuit resting on the side of the plate. Grandfather buttered his biscuit and laid it back on the plate and then buttered mine and placed it back on my plate. I gave it a little pat in anticipation of eating it in a few minutes.

Grandmother finally sat down at the table and on her plate was a dry piece of toast.  Grandfather and I happily ate our biscuits and gravy and Grandmother talked about what we were going to do that day. Once we had eaten all the biscuits and gravy Grandfather and I pick up our buttered biscuits and Grandmother took the dirty plates away and brought us clean plates.

The lone biscuit was placed open on the plate with the crust down. Grandfather made sure there was enough butter on his and then checked mine as I sat anxiously waiting for my favorite part of the meal.

Once he was convinced that they were just right and ready for the crowning glory he picked up the Brer Rabbit Sorghum jar. My mouth was already watering in anticipation. He always fixed his first while I not so patiently waited for the wonderful sticky stuff to be poured all over my biscuit.

When he had prepared his biscuit I quickly pushed my plate toward him. My hands remained suspended in the air with my fingers working, like a cat kneading a blanket, while he poured the sorghum on my biscuit.

I was almost drooling as I ran my tongue over my lips, and then put my hands out pleadingly as I waited for him to push the plate back to me. I was anxious to get the plate back in front of me so I could dig into my breakfast.

Grandfather ate his biscuit and sorghum with a fork but I just grabbed half the biscuit with both hands. By the time I managed to get the first sweet and slightly spicy bite to my mouth, I had the brown sticky liquid running down both of my arms all the way to my elbows and had managed to dribble some on the table.

When I’d finished eating my biscuit the green gingham apron was covered with sorghum as were both of my hands and I’d managed to smear sorghum all over my cheeks and chin. The tip of my nose was smeared with sorghum and I even had some in my hair. I didn’t mind being covered with the sorghum (or the cleanup that followed) because it was the best part of breakfast with Grandfather. To contact Sandy: [email protected].


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