The Case of the Birthday Brownies

Some time ago, an old friend in mom’s ward made brownies for me one year for my birthday. Little did she know, that one act of kindness would start a tradition. Not only for me, but for every member of my family still living under mom’s roof because her kind heart couldn’t possibly leave anyone out.   Since it had been some time since I had grandma notice me (almost before my recollection) I called her Grandma Ann. I guess, you make a big deal and hand out a moniker like that, it could guilt a person into turning a single act of kindness into a tradition. Which is what it did.

Anyway, Grandma Ann had her own family (blood related and everything) and her own grandchildren but still found time to bake birthday brownies for my family on each of our birthdays. It may not seem like much, but to a group who had been grandparent deprived since the mid-eighties, it was the spoiled treatment.

Even after my sister MZ and I moved out of state she still remembered. The delivery became a bit trickier but we were remembered and still received our birthday brownie treat.

One year, I received my brownies (with card) a little late. Late?! Perhaps. Thought of and remembered? More important.

One-third of my roommates enjoyed chocolate immensely. One birthday she helped me eat my brownies so much so, that she helped herself to the off-limits-forbidden-to-anyone-not-celebrating-her-birthday-with-these-brownies-last-piece. I then had to explain what I thought was the well-known rule of birthday-brownie consumption.   Which is this: anyone is welcome to help eat birthday-brownies except for two pieces. The two pieces being the very first piece and the very last piece.

I made sure this was completely understood. That next year, we all enjoyed the brownies as usual. However, a few days later she told me, “You still have a brownie left. I figured you didn’t know because it is still there.”

I knew about it. I was waiting for the perfect time to enjoy my last piece (i.e. after Sunday dinner). What she couldn’t understand is how, since Thursday, it had been sitting there waiting for me. In her book, I obviously must not have known it was still there or else I would have already eaten it.

I was a bit uneasy after that. In my mind, I went through the imaginary book of rules and regulations. I hoped that her statement wasn’t a warning of some kind and if I didn’t heed it within six hours, it would supersede my last brownie piece rule.

After Sunday dinner, ready or not for it, I ate my brownie.

Of course, it became more difficult for Grandma Ann to keep up with the brownie tradition. We weren’t actually her grandkids and we understood that. She moved away and lived with her daughter. We recently received word that she passed away three years shy of becoming a centenarian. The first thing I thought of when I heard of her passing are the years of birthday brownies. Although, it was never about the brownies. It was about someone taking an interest and remembering my birthday. For that, Grandma Ann will always hold a special place in my heart.

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