I would have considered this day pretty uneventful; I had a few more people than I expected, they were all on their way somewhere, traffic was very light, the weather was clear. My Bus warmed up this morning, then the heater went out about halfway through my first run up to Shoreline Community College, I called it in, Transit Control would get me a new bus on my run back to Westwood Village.
Heading down Greenwood I stop by an assisted living building, it’s a very nice facility, I understand its pricey to live there and is excellent in its services and the condos are spacious and well appointed.
I have picked up this woman at the stop many times over the course of the last 2 years. She is over 80, always well dressed, even when dressed casually, her hair is perfect, makeup well done, fashionable and accessorized. She has always struck me as well accomplished; she communicates well and very direct. I’ve thought of her as rather Grand, though we have never had a conversation more than a general greeting.
Today she gets on the Bus carrying a large Tupperware container, “Oh Hello, Merry Christmas” she says Merry Christmas I said, she sits at the front, She’s in a Burgundy coat, black stockings, matching heels, wonderful scarf, Hair perfect. You look like your on your way to fun I said, “ Yes, she replied, Granddaughters first time hosting Christmas. “Wonderful” I said, Yes, and its my job to bring these muffins, everyone knows how to make them, but they have made it my job. “No one cooks better than Grandmas” I said. That’s so true, she said, This is my Grandmothers recipe, She taught me how to make them, and I make them every year, taught my daughter, then taught my granddaughter, “ I love family traditions like that” I said. The recipe has changed a bit since my grandma made them, we lived in Idaho, I grew up in a cabin, my grandparents didn’t have power, back then, grandfather built the Cabin, not very big, large fireplace, exposed timbers, wood stove and they got by with lanterns. It was a farm, they had some livestock but all of it was very modest, we made our own butter, Milk from the cow, eggs were fresh and the squash were from the garden. So much now is store bought, its all easier, but I think they have dropped a bit in taste.
“that’s Amazing” I said.
We pulled in near Woodland Park Zoo, she stood up and walked towards me opening the Tupperware, Here, take a few,
“ Oh Gosh I couldn’t” ( I have a policy of not taking food from people on the bus for obvious reasons of being too risky)
Of course you can, I want you to, please take some.
You, know, I have so much food in my bag, those look really good, she smiles and said……. Take ! I took one, and thanked her profusely, “ Merry Christmas Sir, your always so nice to me, I appreciate you. Merry Christmas Mam, it’s my pleasure.
She stepped off and I pulled away with the muffin stored in a napkin to my left.
It was a light day in Traffic, and I couldn’t help but to think of her growing up in a cabin, no power, snow, warmth of a fire, I imagined the cabins fireplace, river rock, a Mantel made out of timber. Her Grandmother in a calico dress and white apron with lace ( maybe I watch too much tv.) I drove through our city of cement, steel, glass, I drove my near million dollar bus through the streets with many people, and thought how her Christmas has changed.
No power, then radio, then TV, highways , Trak housing, Moon landing, Internet… the list is huge, Her experience then is so different from her Grand daughters experience of Christmas.
But they share a tradition, Muffins, Muffins that have a recipe of perhaps a hundred years, maybe more as I have to think her Grandmother learned to cook from her Mom, maybe Her Grandmother, so perhaps food now isn’t what it used to be, so much now is ready made, flour, butter, pasteurized milk, ingredients from all over the world are available now, few people grow their own food, much less cook from scratch of the level of churning their own butter, picking their own eggs.
Was fun to think about. A new bus was waiting for me at 1st and Lander, a couple of customers quietly changed buses with me and we continued on, dropping someone occasionally. I pulled into Westwood with 1 person to drop off, Merry Christmas he said, I waved back and wished him the same.
I lifted the Muffin, perfect color, not a cupcake style, the old school type, that has the top. I thought again of how old this recipe might be, I took a bit and held it in my mouth.
I should have taken more.