There are some who start their retirement long before they stop working. -Robert Half

Monday, February 16, 2009

Strawberry hats.

Grammy likes to knit. She has a knitting bag that she brings with her everywhere, just in case there is any down time. She can knit pretty much anything, but my favorite things she knits are her strawberry hats that she gives to every baby she meets. Grammy also started knitting blueberry hats for baby boys, but we decided the strawberries are cuter. Recently, Grammy found a pattern for snowman hats, which are white with an orange carrot nose and a pom-pom on top.
Anyway, last fall, Grammy knitted a strawberry hat to auction at the annual church turkey supper and quilt auction. My friend Abby really wanted to buy the hat to give to her boyfriend's new niece. We sat through the auctioning of all of the quilts (well, Abby and my friend AJ sat; my sister and I always have to be the girls that hold up and show the quilts) and finally, it was time for the strawberry hat. Abby started bidding, and the hat must have been a hot item, because it surpassed her $10 limit almost immediately. It turns out, Papa was bidding on it and won it back. I asked him why he bought it because we don't know any babies, and he just said "Grammy worked really hard on it, I didn't want to see it go for a low price." Oh Papa. When we got home, Grammy sold it to Abby anyway.
Like I said, my sister and I always have to show off the quilts during the auction. Every year. For all of time. Ever since we were little, we were at the quilt auction holding up stuffed ducks and baby quilts for people to bid on. Rachel likes it, but I don't. This year, Abby and AJ came down for the evening, so I was sure I wouldn't have to hold things up, but I was wrong. I sat down, and Rachel came over and told me to get up because we had a job to do. I should have figured because we pretty much run the entire quilt auction anyway. We set up all the quilt racks, hang up all the quilts, hold up the quilts, take down all the quilt racks and pack them away. It's all worth it though because the St. Peter's UCC Annual Turkey Supper is the greatest church dinner in all of the world. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn, homemade applebutter and rolls, all piled high on a disposable plate. Then comes the dessert table; a mouth-watering array of pies, cakes and cookies, made with love. On each table are different kinds of cranberry sauce, so you can choose your favorite. And you can't forget the coleslaw.
The amazing, super secret Church Lady Coleslaw. We have this at almost every church dinner. Slightly sweet, but with a kick of vinegar. One year, it was Grammy's job to make the coleslaw, so she made the dressing, using apple-cider vinegar and the church ladies FLIPPED OUT. Apparently it is supposed to be made with regular vinegar. Heaven forbid. My family just sat at the table and talked loudly about how great we thought the coleslaw was. If there is one thing these lady's don't like, it is change, that's for sure. Making applebutter last fall was pretty intense, I'll tell you what. Some said it had too much cinnamon, some said it was not sweet enough, some hated the sugar-free, and some, like Grammy and me, thought that it was fine. (We're not very picky about our applebutter. We lovingly accept all flavors.)
My dad and I went to help Grammy and the church ladies make the applebutter. I kind of figured that Dad and I would be doing a lot of work, because we would be one of the few participants under the age of 75, but I could not have been more wrong. We basically stood around and watched the ladies bustle around. I offered to help them with the stirring and lifting of boxes, but they all said they were fine. The coveted job is stirring the applebutter in the large kettles. Those ladies would get so worked up over who had gotten to stir the pot too long, while the men and I would just sit back and watch them. I'm actually confused about why they think they don't have enough help. All I did the whole time was wipe applebutter off the side of the jars after pouring.
This is how Grammy hurt her shoulder, aka the reason she isn't allowed to shovel snow with Papa and me. Grammy wanted to make some applebutter with fresh apples, so she went and picked them and then peeled and cooked them all. Then, right after applebutter day, Grammy's arm started hurting. While I slumbered that night, the ambulance made a visit to our house (apparently I can sleep through anything) because Grammy thought she was having heart problems. She wasn't. It was just too much apple picking. So we started going to rehab. Right after applebutter day a few years ago, Grammy had to have a stent put in. Applebutter is a stressful activity. Papa wants her to quit for two reasons:
1) For her health
2) And because whatever Grammy volunteers for, Papa ends up helping with also, which brings us back to Papa's need for more free time.


  1. A picture!!

    I love that hat. LOVE that hat!

  2. will Grammy make me some hats???? I will take 2 blueberry and 1 strawberry (for now...until I found out the gender of my other niece/nephew due in Sept) I'll even pay however much Papa thinks :)

    How cute!!!!

  3. I had no idea applebutter was so much work. Can she make a hat large enough for my head? haha