This is the most wonderful time of the year. As the song goes “hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near”. Which brings me to a particular loved one. My grandfather, my pop-pop, passed away three years ago. Now, I am going to take issue with a bit of phraseology. The way we say that we have “lost a loved one” doesn’t make much sense to me. I have never lost my grandfather. I can find him in memories, objects, rituals, friends and family. I’m sure you guys understand what I’m talking about. I’m also pretty sure I’m not the first to take issue with that wording.
In any event, I am more than ever reminded of pop-pop. It’s not because his death occurred during the holiday season, but simply the holiday season itself. It is naturally a time when we think of family and tradition. When I think about Christmas I will always think about pop-pop and fudge. Every year, my grandparents came over to my house for Christmas Eve. We lived half a mile apart, and saw each other almost everyday, but still it was special when they walked in on Christmas Eve. Pop-pop would arrive bearing two tins of delicious fudge, a huge smile and everyone was ready for the fun and festivities. As a kid, I was always paranoid that I would get put on the naughty list. I had nightmares of coming down the stairs with my sisters only to find that Santa had only left gifts for them-nuttin for me, not even coal. But fudge, I could always count on having that. If my grandfather made us fudge, I figured, well we can’t be such bad kids. I still remember how excited I was when he told me the “secret ingredient” -Marshmallow Creme.
I don’t know maybe it’s silly, but that fudge was pretty magical to me. So, I decided to make it myself this year. You can find the old recipe all over the interwebs but I used this one. I don’t know if my heart is literally glowing, but I am comforted just looking at those big chocolaty chunks, and I feel like my loved ones are near.
* Oh and let us all remember Pop-Pop’s sage words during this season of picture taking: Don’t say cheese, “Say ‘sex’, it puts in a twinkle in your eye!”