Yesterday marked 15 years since my Grandma Noeker died. She died just about a week and a half after my cousin Chrissy and I graduated from high school. In fact, I believe that the last picture ever taken of her was with Chrissy and I in our caps and gowns, she in her hospital bed in her living room with Grandpa standing next to us too.

I still miss her so much. When I was a kid, I used to spend weeks at a time with her in the summertime. We passed our days baking cookies, watching The Price is Right and The Frugal Gourmet (while Grandpa watched The Young and the Restless on the other tv), picking vegetables from the garden, and cooking dinner. She let me stay up to watch Johnny Carson with her. Grandpa always made me an ice cream cone with butter pecan ice cream. And sometimes Grandma made popcorn in her air popper. But she ruined any health benefits of the popping method by melting an entire stick of butter and pouring it over the top. It was delicious.

I loved going over there when I was a kid. We didn’t do anything extravagant or expensive but it was perfect. There were no video games or cable tv but there were games of go fish and puzzles and scrabble. And cicada shells to collect off of the trees, and tomatoes to eat off of the vine like apples. And blackberries. And she had peaches that she canned herself that were way more delicious than any other canned peaches I’ve ever had. No one can replicate her soft white cookies at Christmas time and the turkey noodle soup that I make isn’t quite like hers was. She made these awesome sun dill pickles too. Unfortunately she took the secrets of a lot of these recipes with her (if anyone happens to be fluent in old lady chicken scratch, I’ve got a book of recipes for you to decipher).

Grandma was funny too. She was snarky and sometimes a little bitchy and she liked to gossip but not maliciously. She loved her grandchildren. And we loved her.

If she were alive today, she would be turning 99 years old this fall. So here’s to you, Grandma! We all sure do miss you!