Wednesday, April 21, 2010

a tribute to my treasured grandmother, dorothy kemp

After a long battle braving her elderly age, my dear grandmother said "so long" last Wednesday morning. A week has since passed, which possessed days of chaos as we whirled our emotions to honestly prepare ourselves to celebrate her life in two establishments events. 

I was approached with a request to present a speech of remembrance at her dear funeral service. Below, I share with you the words I so willingly spoke.

If you could bottle the satisfying smells of my grandmother and her forever remembered kitchen creations, you would be able to make a marvelous mint.

While my grandmother, who we all called Grammy, was blessed with a handful of talents that she graced all so extremely well, what many of us remember most was the accomplished efforts she made through her edible mixing, whisking, chopping, peeling and constructing.

Poised and proper, prim and perfect, Dorothy Kemp would constantly flood her Barto, Pennsylvania kitchen with the most appetizing of aromas, all while looking elegant and dashing, more than anyone could appear as they maintained their food preparation station.

We all, both my Uncle Ed and my mom Claudia, as well as us six grandchildren, benefited from her delicious efforts for our birthdays, as she always prepared the most gorgeous red velvet cakes, both pleasing to the eyes and the stomachs.

She'd begin such celebrations with hearty bowls of her ideally savory-and-salty beef vegetable soup, where she always made sure my cousin Pam and I were able to slurp our spoonfuls with her provided pink spoons.

There are things I will never forget, as she shaped me into appreciating the world of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine and her efforts toward her cooking craft shaped me to want to be that much more of a cook and a baker.

She canned, of course, and her basement shelves packed with jars of mustard beans, pickled beets, turnips and many other preserved vegetables grown impressively in her backyard, will forever be housed in my brain in the most vivid of memories.

When she'd would be left to feed my brothers and I, even days where she popped open a box of macaroni and cheese were that of the tastiest, and I have still to this day not been able to make boxed food as incredible as she had with her own personal touch.

One of the classiest of ladies I had ever met, Grammy assisted in my sculpting my feminine mystique as I have fond memories of her letting me borrow her string of pearls for my prom, and I wore them so confidently aside the petite black clutch she also allowed me to sport for my most prized night in high school.

As many of you know, and I'd be remiss if I did not mention it, she had a way with her two crocheting needles, swimming through suitcases of her stitched hats, scarfs, mittens and afghans. Following each grandchild's birth, she'd craft a distinct colored blanket for us all, and we now each proudly sleep cozily with them at night.

A grandmother is an incredible, gracious gift, and we could not be more honored have been blessed with Dorothy Kemp as our forever-remembered, always-loved Grammy.