Saturday, October 14, 2006

Yvonne "Grammy" Provost, 1904 - 2006

Grammy came to stay with us 2 weeks each summer and 2 weeks at Christmas time every year while I was growing up. My dad would pick her up at the airport and when she got to the house she'd greet me with the predictable "you've grown SO MUCH!" One year she arrived and after giving me a big hug she held me at arms length (which wasn't far, she was a tiny woman), drew breath in preparation of her usual greeting and then stopped. After a beat for scrutiny she said "You haven't grown at all since the last time I saw you." Another thoughtful pause, and then "You know what? I don't think you're going to grow at all anymore!" She was very close to spot-on about that but given my gene pool it was a safe guess.

Once she was settled in, the baking would commence! Due to her diminutive size, she'd stand on a little step stool in front of the counter. From there, she'd whip out all manner of delicious pies. I loved her pies and even more, I loved the croquinolles, the little pastries she'd make with the left-over pie dough. The big event, though, was The Making of the Doughnuts. As grandmothers do, she made the dough from memory. Then my dad would tear open several paper grocery bags and lay them out on the counter for draining purposes. Grammy would heat up a mess o' Crisco in a dutch oven and, with my dad as her kitchen assistant, she'd make dozens of buttermilk doughnuts. DOZENS. The counters were piled with doughnuts, it looked like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (will fewer socialist themes and no scary Oompa-Loompas). After that you could open any cabinet in the kitchen and find a Tupperware container filled with doughnuts. That was the way it went. Until the time Grammy caught the kitchen on fire when she confused "high" and "off" on the burner. While that is unfortunate, it did provide my parents with just the excuse they were looking for to remodel the kitchen and, while they were at it, put a giant addition on the house.

After 102 years, Grammy has called it quits. I will miss her pies and her French-Canadian accent that sounded so sweet when she said "Eddie" to my dad and when she approvingly said "Katherine Louise" at her 100th birthday party when she met Kate. And I will miss those doughnuts. Now my mom is Grammy Provost! Those are some big shoes to fill. (Though technically speaking, they were pretty small.)


RFKeith said...

When I was about 5 or 6, she used to prod me to put a sweater on in the house. This is probably why I am not a sweater guy to this day. If she couldn't convince me, she would make a big show about how she was going to wear my sweater if I didn't.
"Keith, don't you want to put on your sweater? It tis cold outside to-day."
"It is cold," 5 year old me would retort, " but happily, we live in a climactically controlled structure."
"oooKAY ... if you're not going to wear your sweater, I guess Grammy will have to wear it herself."
Like Garth Brooks, Grammy enjoyed referring to herself in the third person to us.
She would then make a show over putting on the tiny sweater. It was amusing, but it usually didn't convince me to put on the sweater. It fit her so nicely.

Paige Anne said...

What a lovely tribute to your dear Grammy!

Delphi said...

I'm sad I never met your grammy. I suspect we would have gotten along.