by Dave Markwell

On a mostly sunny Monday morning in a hotel room in southern British Columbia, I remembered my Grandma. I had just made the resort supplied coffee in a little tin pot contraption. As I went to doctor my morning Joe appropriately, I noticed the hotel had “Coffee Mate” powdered creamer in a little packet, along with various forms of sugar.

Coffee Mate creamer always reminds me of my Grandma. The color of the packaging and the fine, white powdered goodness is her. I witnessed her, my whole life, scooping or shaking this marvelous little invention into her coffee countless times. And when I see it, I think of her.

It’s oddly poignant that my Grandma, who passed away a few years ago, now lives in Coffee Mate creamer to me. My Grandma also lives in rainbow trout fried in cornmeal and butter. In an old cast iron skillet, she lovingly cooked these trout for my favorite breakfasts. She always perfectly browned the crispy skin, which I loved and still love, though I have never been able to prepare them quite as tasty as my Gram.

She also lives in huckleberry pie, which was also my favorite. Anyone who has ever had someone hand-pick wild mountain huckleberries in a quantity sufficient to satisfy a solid pie can be quite assured that that person loves them very much. Those berries are small and it takes a LONG time to pick enough for a pie. My Grandma picked them for me.

As I reflected on these things while sitting on the little balcony overlooking the glassy lake, I felt very grateful to have been reared by this woman. Her fish and pies made me feel special. As a young boy, and maybe forever, it is important to feel special sometimes. My Grandma understood this.

My Grandma understood a lot of things. As special as I felt while thinking of these things, I realized that I felt exactly as special as the rest of my cousins and my brother felt. My Grandma made everyone feel special. Each of us had our own sweet spot and favorite things. She knew them and made efforts to serve them. As life gets busy and challenging, the thought of a plate of fried fish will always cheer me up.

In our lives, many people pass through and all leave an impression. The remarkable ones are the ones who make us feel remarkable; the ones who create the idea of possibility. They are the heroes, often unsung, as their deeds lack flash or pomp. They are simple acts of kindness and love. These acts shape futures. They are immensely powerful and are truly responsible for any good that exists in this world.

While unloading a box of books this afternoon, I placed my bible on the book case in my bedroom. Many years ago, all of my cousins and I received bibles from my Grandma for Christmas. These bibles were inscribed with our names. I have travelled many miles and lived many lives since I received this gift. It is always on a book shelf in my home, no matter where that is. And it always will be.

From fried trout to huckleberry pie to my bible, my Grandma’s legacy lives in my mind and heart and on my book shelf…and it even lives in a little white dish at Harrison Hot Springs Resort in British Columbia serving Coffee Mate creamer…original flavor…It’s a big legacy.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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