In memory of my grandmother

I am pretty sure your granny didn’t weigh her ingredients, I know mine didn’t, it was a flick of a wrist here, a pinch of this, a sprinkling of that all resulting in comfort food at it’s very best, served by a voluminous little old lady with the scent of the kitchen forever about her person. Generous, loving, giving. At night I remember granny sitting at the foot of my bed to sing me to sleep, I remember the dark room,  and the orange halo around the street-lamp in the small park outside the window, the streaks of light casting shadows on the bed-covers, I remember her as she sat there on a chair in her old house-dress, a bulky comforting presence in the dark and how she would raise her fragile voice and sing me to sleep often a rendition of a 18-19th century Swiss folk song:  “Han an nem Ort es Blüemli gseh” – In a place I saw a flower – the song a lament about a flower, that is coveted with all the singer’s heart, but which belongs to another.  The song ends –  when once I am dead and gone and the flower too is withered, I beg you please to lay the flower  upon my grave, and the chorus is “oh my flower, I want, I want so much to be with you” . A lot of my granny’s songs took place in the graveyard, maybe reflecting 19th century sensibilities? She was born in 1888…. Her singing moved me then, the earnestness, and the devotion with which she sang, her voice high and wavering, the memory still moves me now so many many years after her passing away.


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