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I wish I had asked her the story behind it.
It’s a beautiful, six-cup muffin tin, stamped with “Muffinaire.” The company’s name is United Aircraft, Dayton, Ohio, which is where she lived out her adult life.
Libbie and I have been making a lot of muffins lately, and I feel that in my subconscious it might be just so I can pull out the Muffinaire tin and feel connected to her, the first Libby.
It always comes clean perfectly—the advantage to using something that old. You know if it’s still clean after so many years, it’s been seasoned. It will always be shiny and just right. The muffins will be perfect.
That Libby, my grandmother, died on June 29.
She’s been in the process of dying for years, since diverticulitis ripped her insides and left her a shell. Sometimes she was full, a pearl still there … sometimes cracked open and insides ripped out, lost inside fuzzy memories.
I am thankful, in a way, for the end of her suffering. But guilty and pained that she never met my son, only her second great-grandchild. Guilty that I didn’t call her more, because her not-quite-there memory made me cry, because she wasn’t sure that I was I and not my sister, her sister, a stranger.
I’ll remember her in the mountains, bright smiles as the cool air whips. At the beach; in Chincoteague with the ponies. Clinking 50th anniversary mugs with my grandfather.
She was a beauty, a saint, a reader, a writer, the namesake for my precious daughter.
And I keep making muffins, holding onto her for a last hug I did not get.
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This took me slightly longer than 5 minutes, but The Gypsy Mama’s 5-Minute Friday was what prompted me to stop staring at the screen and actually write this, without editing.