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Flapjacks

By , Fredericksburg, VA
After Mass, we hopped into our cherry red truck and drove down a silent country road lined with trees. The lake came into view as the sunlight broke free from the shade of the all-around canopy. As we pulled into my grandmother’s narrow, half a mile long driveway, I became ecstatic. Today she had promised to teach me how to make pancakes, after I had watched her do it countless times.

I literally jumped out of the car before we stopped and bounded inside. My grandmother was stretched out on the couch napping like she always was when we arrived. She awoke at the sound of my footsteps on the hardwood floor. “Hi, Honey.” she would always say.

“Hi, Grandma.” I would always respond. Before we could cook, we had to go to the store and buy ingredients. All four of us went out to the Food Lion in my dad’s truck since my grandmother didn’t drive.

When we returned we put all the groceries away and I became captivated by the view of the lake behind her house. I looked out of my grandmother’s kitchen window and saw the lake behind her house run along the shore. “I could look at this forever.” I thought. I finally peeled myself away from the view, walked over to the pantry, and took out the Bisquick with the pancake recipe on the back. There was a stack of pancakes on the front and a blueberry sat on them like a king sits on his throne. I had read the back of the yellow box that was brighter than the Sun so many times that I almost heard someone narrating the recipe to me in my head. 2 cups Original Bisquick mix, 1 cup milk, 2 eggs.

“Make sure you put the ingredients in the order they’re listed on the box.” My grandmother said to me as a puff of flour kissed my face. I poured out the milk into her classic Pyrex measuring cup. I tipped the measuring cup over and the milk doused the parched snow that had dusted the bottom of the green porcelain bowl. Lastly, I cracked an egg into the bowl. It slithered out of the shell and plopped onto the slushy mixture. I pulled the cooking spray out of the pantry and the can hissed like a snake as the skillet began to shine with Pam. My grandmother switched on the burners and the skillet began to get deathly hot. Her stove is electric, so if you touched the skillet without knowing, you would’ve gotten a nasty burn.

My grandmother took a small spoonful of pancake batter and poured it delicately onto the skillet. It began to bubble so she gave me the okay to get cooking. I turned over each creation with motherly care and placed them on the platter. I placed the platter on the wooden kitchen table covered with a sky blue and white checker pattern. The platter sat next to the plate of sausage and bacon and the bowl of refreshing tropical fruit. The papaya and pineapple glistened with the light syrup. The snow white breakfast dishes sat on the table, calling our names as we sat down to pile food on them.

“Mmm, these are delicious.” My father said to me as he put another bite of pancake in his mouth.

“Thanks.” I replied. I poured some more Aunt Jemima maple syrup on my plate and the thirsty pancakes soaked it up. After we finished eating, I helped my grandmother by putting the dishes in the sink so they would be ready when she gave them a bath that afternoon.

Driving away that day in the early afternoon’s golden sunlight, I couldn’t help but feel proud of myself. “I made pancakes.” I thought to myself. To some people, making pancakes would seem like an insignificant event. This became one of the most vivid memories I had of my grandmother only after she passed away. I had never given making pancakes much thought until she was gone. Now I make brunch for my parents and my sister and hope that I will one day be able to pass this tradition on to my children. Even though I will never be able to make brunch in my grandmother’s kitchen again, I still can still make them with her, in her house, in my memories.





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