As a pancake flipper, my husband crushed it. His pancakes were legendary and looking back, I should have eaten more, lots more. But my tempestuous stomach competed with concern about my waistline to keep a lid on my appetite for these light as air suckers. Though I hadn’t eaten a lot of pancakes since my kids left home, when they were small I made more than my share of super healthy fat ol’ pancakes. Mine had apples, oats and wheat germ packed in but I never got any complaints. Of course, mine were all they knew.
Enter the pancake king.
From the decadent iHOP variety to stacks of homegrown hotcakes with the mom-forbidden syrup, (pancake syrup is only maple FLAVORED!) pancakes are always a go-to for kids. And the same kids who inhaled pancakes themselves, passed their love of the circular bites of goodness to their own munchkins. When my husband came on the scene, they discovered quickly that his specialty pancakes were like no other. Even I was crazy for them, but why not? These light as air pancakes were the crepe variety – delicate, delicious and often studded with blueberries.
Even nights when the exhausted work warrior trudged through the door, if grandkids were there and they asked for pancakes — they got pancakes. He’d drop his briefcase, and head to the kitchen, yanking out the griddle, eggs and spatula as he went to work. Before the first pancake was lightly browned, the kids were at the table begging for more. And crepe-like pancakes are labor intensive! The poor guy barely had time to breathe before grandpa duties got him by the apron strings — and he loved every minute of it. If grandkids asked, the answer was always yes.
It’s always the little things that do you in, right? You can be tooling along, doing the most mundane thing, and out of the blue, a memory pops up that is so vivid it stops you in your tracks. The funny thing is, it’s usually nothing huge or earthshaking. It can be as simple as a taste, a smell or sound that you want to preserve like a screenshot to relive again and again. But a memory only lives in our minds — unless we find a way to ‘pass it on’.
No, you can never recreate the same memory in the same way. And most times it’s better not to try. Yours was one-of-a-kind, a unicorn that can’t be duplicated. You are entrusted with creating new variations of that memory, somehow weaving something unique and wonderful in its own right. In fact, I’d bet a vat of caramel that you’ve done that already, in some version or other, without even realizing it.
My husband and I loved our trips to Cape Cod, my fav place ever. Years ago, we decided to treat ourselves to a super swanky dinner at reknowned 5-star resort. Words can’t express the magic of that extraordinary night. The last time we returned to the Cape, my sweet man suggested we have an encore dinner there but I declined, much to his dismay. I was sure that if the night was any less exquisite than our first memory, it would be a real disappointment. I think it’s like that with most great memories. If just one element is missing, the memory is less memorable.
But there are exceptions and it’s up to us to know when to make them.
A few months ago, one of my grandsons asked his mom “did grandpa give grandma the recipe for the pancakes?” After I stopped crying, I hunted through every recipe I could to find something as near as possible. While nothing will ever beat the super great pancakes their loving grandpa whipped up, mine garnered an enthusiastic thumbs up— and these days, that’s as good as it gets.
Memories bring smiles and tears but they are treasures not just to tightly hold on to but pass on in whatever way we can, no matter how imperfect. Don’t worry if it’s not like we remember them – nothing ever is. Make your own flavor of memories. It’s the effort that counts.
And if the menu includes pancakes, batter up. Who can’t use a hit of delish, sticky love?