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…

More in Life

Carly Garay’s “Earth” is one of the works in her “The Art of Ancestor Veneration,” on display through Oct. 30, 2021, at the Homer Council on the Arts in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Garay lifts the veil between living and dead with “Art of Ancestor Veneration”

HCOA show invites people to submit own images of ancestors at central altar.

Chewy soft pretzels are easy to make at home. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Penisula Clarion)
Chewy soft pretzels are easy to make at home. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Sisterhood and soft pretzels

Our favorite snack there, the one I know will always make her smile, was a soft pretzel with cheese sauce.

The welcome sign for the City of Kenai, as seen in this city Facebook page photo.
History with a sense of humor, Part 1

The first part of a two-part collection of humorous tales gleaned from old newspapers on the central Kenai Peninsula.

Ward off Halloween’s mystical monsters with these garlic-infused cheesy shells and pepper sauce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Tasty Halloween

Keep spooky creatures at bay with garlic-infused shells and pepper sauce.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Let there be lights!

When I stopped in at one of our local stores, I didn’t cringe when I saw all the holiday decorations on display.

Cabbage, potatoes, salmon and an assortment of pantry staples make for a culinary challenge. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Take a culinary pop quiz

Get creative with what’s in your pantry

This undated John E. Thwaites photo, perhaps taken near Seward, shows the S.S. Dora grounded. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 3

Her long career had come to an end at last.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes I wonder, who needs who

Dog whispers we are not. Suckers for unconditional love, you bet.

Meredith Harber (courtesy)
Minister’s Message: Don’t let termination dust bring you down

If I’m honest, this time of year is the hardest for me mentally and emotionally.

Pieces hang on display at the Kenai Art Center for the open call show on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘They felt like they could share with us now’

Art center open call offers space for new artists.

The Cosmic Hamlet Entertainment film crew prepares for a new scene to roll on the set of “Bolt from the Blue” at the Kilcher Homestead on Sept. 28. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
‘Bolt from the Blue’ film features Homer

“The Office” star Kate Flannery cast in feature film produced in Homer.

These old-fashioned doughnuts don’t skimp on the fat or sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Memories of old-fashioned doughnuts

My recipe is for old-fashioned doughnuts, and since I make these maybe twice a year, I don’t skimp on the sugar and fat.