Before this, Grandma had never been east of Montreal. I was excited by what she'd think of our chosen home, but was concerned by how uncomfortable she'd be on the long drive. She didn't complain. Of the trip, Grandma only said how taken she was with New Brunswick.
"It's one postcard after another."
As several of us crammed into the kitchen to prepare Christmas dinner, Grandma--who never liked the idea of sitting idle--asked if she could help.
"There has to be something I can do."
"Do you want to peel potatoes?" I asked.
She rummaged for a few moment through our cutlery drawer.
"I can't find your paring knife."
I reached in, grabbed a short serrated knife with a black handle and handed it to her. She looked at it.
"That's not a paring knife."
I was so embarrassed. All this fancy kitchen stuff, and not a paring knife to be found. The simplest of tools. (I'm referring to me)
I scrounged back through the drawer and came up with a peeler.
She took it, holding it as if it were a foreign object.
"I never did figure out how to use one of these."
It was soon clear this wasn't the tool for Grandma. Luckily, Dad was there with his pocket knife. In a few minutes, Grandma had the entire bag of potatoes peeled.
Always assume Erin is listening. By the middle of the next day, a paring knife with a white plastic handle found a home in our drawer.
I think of this story every time I grab for that knife. I love the feel of it in my hand. I love the way it slips under the skin of a potato as I roll the spud around and around until there's nothing left but a pile of scraps and white ball of starchy flesh.