Wednesday, May 30, 2007

UPS Truck

When I was a kid, the UPS truck was a thrilling sight. It didn't stop at our house often, and I don't know why I never made the connection that it always stopped on someone's birthday month (a little early, a little late, depending on how much Grandma had going on). The packages always seemed to come at such random times, which made it that much more exciting.
The box would seem gigantic - full of all our favorites treats that mom didn't buy on a weekly basis. They were things Grandma and Grandpa spoiled us with. Any other way, and they wouldn' be treats.
Swiss Cake Rolls, Nutty Bars, homemade cookies maybe. Whatever junk food they knew we'd love.
And of course the birthday girl or boy would always have a card and some wrapped presents inside, but with all the snacks it seemed like a present for us all!
It was big deal when it was your birthday and your box - everyone had to wait until you were there to open it. Or maybe that was just me.
I guess as we got older getting packages wasn't as exciting, or maybe we saw Grandma and Grandpa more so it wasn't as necessary. I know it picked up a little in college which always made me so happy - a little taste of home. Yes, you can taste home in a pre-packaged Little Debbie Snack Cake. At least I can.
I don't get many packages anymore. Usually its something I bought myself. And that's ok, I like that everytime I pass a UPS truck on the road or see one go by my house it fills me with this completely nostalgic, exciting childhood feeling that I couldn't get from anything else.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


So last night I decided to make dessert. Sometimes you just want something sweet, plus I find baking very soothing for some reason.
Anyway, last year my extended family put together this cookbook of all the family recipes for generations back and I was thumbing through it while we watched tv. I came across this recipe for chocolate cake that was my grandpa's favorite. Its chocolate mayonnaise cake (the mayonnaise replaces the butter/oil and egg). So I decided to make it. Well, when it was done and I opened the oven this smell wafted out that was obviously the cake, but to me it smelled like more than that. It smelled like my grandma's house, it smelled like grandpa, it was this overwhelmingly familiar, comforting take-you-back kind of smell. I wanted to cry, but all I could do was laugh - both at myself for wanting to cry over a cake and for all the memories that were flooding back. Over the fact that for the first time something that reminded me of my grandpa didn't immediately send me into fits of sobs and tears and pain, but made me smile.
Its amazing how something can be so heart-wrenchingly sad and so joyfully happy at the same time.