I know it sounds silly, but sometimes there’s love in the bread pudding. When I was in kindergarten and first grade I lived with my grandmother, Myrtle, my mother’s stepmother. She doted on this grandchild and there was nothing that exceeded her grasp when it came to demonstrating that love. At four years old I had my own bedroom with bed linens I’d chosen; shelves stacked with books and encyclopedia because she’d taught me to read at an early age. And a small television. In my room. Yes I thought I was all that. Not really. I’d known nothing else.
And her husband, my grandfather, my mother’s father was no slack in the love department either. I could see the love in his eyes when I was perched on his lap in the evenings when he dropped exhaustedly into his favorite chair after hoisting me into the air as soon as he cleared the doorpost.
Love in those deep blue eyes.
Love in those strong arms that propelled me from the floor.
Love in the way he spoke my name and responded to my yell of delight when I saw him.
Love in the television, in the books, in the privacy of my own little kingdom.
Love in the bed linens.
And love in the bread pudding. Two to three days a week when I bounded into the door from school, there was freshly baked, too-hot-to-eat, butter smothered bread pudding – no sauce, always a purist – just for me.
And the kitchen smelled like love.
And the first safe bite tasted like love.
And the baker’s smile looked like love.
As did the many bites that followed.
Love in the bread pudding.