I don’t know about you, but I missed Grandparents Day this year. It was a few Sundays back. Before you get your knickers in a twist, Grandparents Day isn’t just another excuse to send a card or flowers. Instead, it’s about connecting across generations. It’s about spending time, not cash.
I was extremely lucky to have all four of my grandparents around until I was well into my twenties. Even when I was little, most of my friends had one or maybe two grandparents. In addition to the fearsome foursome, we were blessed with a great-great aunt and a couple of my grandfather’s cousins. Knowing these amazing oldsters was a true gift.
If you are a grandparent, make the effort to share your story with your grandchildren. If you’re not, then share your story with nieces and nephews or the kid next door. Senior family members are important links between past and present and the world around us. Personal stories put historic events in human context and make them real.
Don’t be shy; sharing your personal stories can be surprisingly easy, especially when you have a willing ear. Write them down if you want. If not, take a walk with your favorite kids. As you mark the miles, tell them about your childhood, your school days, your first job … the list is more or less endless. Even if you think they aren’t interested, give it a try. They’ll probably surprise you.
And by the way, don’t worry about keeping everything in perfect chronological order. It’s okay to share a tale about your first day of college today and, then tomorrow, skip back in time to childhood games on the ice. Eventually, all the bits and pieces will come together. In spite of the jumbled time line, a pretty good picture of the various people, places and events in your life will shine through. Your loved ones will get a sense of how all these pieces came together to create you.
What to tell? If you remember a certain person or event; if the memory makes you smile or laugh or cry, it’s probably meaningful. Focus on information that can’t be found in the history books and, yes, details matter. Pertinent details will bring your story to life but be careful. Irrelevant details will bog down your story and might even make it tedious.
Where to start? Why not with your nearest and dearest. For example, my dad was very close to his grandfather and loves to tell stories about him. Born on the same day as Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration, my great-grandfather was a carpenter. As a teenager, he left home to learn his trade. Earning a pittance as an apprentice, he signed up for the night shift at the fire department to have a place to sleep. From that inauspicious start, he became the epitome of the American success story. He built a business and a good many double-deckers. A formidable patriarch, most of the family was afraid of him. Knowing full well that he put his socks on before his shoes, his daughter-in-law, my grandmother, refused to be intimidated. He loved her for it.
A few fun facts, Great-Grandpa Nye had two wives, a bunch of girlfriends, grew gladioli and drove big sedans. He adored my dad, his only grandson, and made a point of taking him along on his various adventures, wheelings and dealings. That’s the tiniest of mini-snapshots. Dad has the details so you’ll have to talk to him if you want more.
Grilled Broccolini with Tahini Vinaigrette
- About 2 pounds broccolini, trimmed
- Olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
Put the broccolini in a large bowl, drizzle with just enough equal parts olive oil and vinegar to lightly coat and toss. Season with salt and pepper and toss again.
Arrange the broccolini on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn and grill until tender and lightly charred, 2-3 minutes more.
Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates, drizzle with Tahini Vinaigrette and serve
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-inch chunk red onion
- 1/2 teaspoon or to taste harissa
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Juice and zest of 1/2 lime
- 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-4 tablespoons water
Put the garlic, onion, spices, lime juice and zest and vinegar in a small food processor and pulse to combine and finely chop. Add the tahini and olive oil and process until smooth. A tablespoon at a time, add the water and process until smooth and creamy.
Let the vinaigrette sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or longer in the refrigerator to combine the flavors. Bring to room temperature and give it a good shake before serving.
Cover and store extra vinaigrette in the refrigerator.
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Do you have stories to tell? What’s holding you back? Feel free to share!
Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2019