Pioneer Potluck: About my grandpa

  • By Grannie Annie
  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 3:36pm
  • LifeFood

North of Fort Collins, Colorado

1937 to 1950’S

My Grandpa Ernest Cogswell was born in 1886 in Friend, Nebraska and moved to Northern Colorado in 1904. He later lived with Grandma Freda in a basement house in the middle of a cherry and apple orchard, one mile north of where I was born and Dad and Mom had their farm. He died in 1958 when my oldest daughter Gail, was one year old. He got to enjoy her and looked forward to our visits even though he was ill.

He was one of the kindest, quietest men I have known. He smoked a pipe, a crooked one that curve down over his lip. He also used Prince Albert Tobacco in his pipe. I loved the smell of that smoke, curling around his fringe of hair above his ears, leaving a bald shiny head. My picture of him to this day is Grandpa setting in his rocking chair, legs crossed, pipe in his mouth and a permanent smile on his face.

The smell of Grandma’s sugar cookies in the Kerosene burning oven was always present. Maybe Grandpa’s smile was his anticipation of a warm sugar cookie. He made a ritual of everything worth eating. Get a coffee cup and saucer out, pour himself a cup from the always on the stove, percolating coffee pot. Pull out HIS chair at the little kitchen table. Grandma had already poured me a glass of cold milk and set it on the table at a chair next to Grandpa. The plate of warm sugar cookies was setting on the table and I would wait for Grandpa to get me a cookie first and put it on my plate and then he would take a cookie – scoot his saucer and cup full of coffee over to be closer to him and my clue was when he picked up his cookie, I picked up mine and we both dunked our cookie at the same time! I still smile at the noise we made eating the dunked cookies and the smiles we had for Grandma, who by that time had sat down with her cup of coffee and a cookie. I always wondered why she did not dunk her cookie.

Grandpa saved string, twine and rubber bands. Large balls of each were kept in a drawer waiting for another string or rubber band to be wrapped around. At one time one of my uncles wanted to know if the rubber band ball would bounce. Grandpa’s look of disapproval and the thought of dropping his ball of rubber bands stopped us both from doing just that. Sure would have been fun though!!

The ball of string was very handy at all times and the twine was something he cherished – long or short pieces were wound around for safe keeping – just in case!

Grandma save bread wrappers and the papers that butter was wrapped in. She buttered the bread loaf pans with them and when the loaves of fresh bread came out of her kerosene oven – she used the butter wrappers, dipped in butter to slather on top of the hot loaves of bread. Grandpa and I would have to wait 10 minutes for Grandma to cut into the warm loaf of bread. Same ritual – Grandpa’s coffee, my glass of milk – warm slices of bread with melting butter on them and the very best of all, was the sugar she sprinkle on top. Sometimes she would sprinkle cinnamon on too. I would always wait for Grandpa to pick his up and take a bite before I picked mine up. Oh, oh my, I think I should bake a loaf of bread or a batch of Grandma’s sugar cookies and thank God for those wonderful memories…

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