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Essays by Karen Anderson: Lunch with Grandpa

Illustration by Kacie Brown

My grandfather invited me to go out to lunch but it wasn’t anyplace fancy—just the Booth Dairy a few blocks away. Booth’s was mostly a place to buy milk and ice cream, but they also had a little lunch counter where you could order sandwiches.

I ordered peanut butter and jelly and Grandpa ordered ham on rye. While we waited for our sandwiches, Grandpa drank coffee and I spun myself around on the stool. If I pushed off against the counter, I could go really fast.

“Grampa, you should try this!” I exclaimed.

“It looks like fun,” he said but he didn’t try it. The man behind the counter brought me a tall glass of white milk with chocolate syrup in the bottom and a long spoon.

“Thought you might like to stir this up yourself,” he said. The sandwiches came on paper plates with potato chips. Grandpa got a pickle with his. The peanut butter and jelly tasted strange, not nearly as good as the ones I ate at home.

“How’s your lunch, Scout?” Grampa asked.

“I really like the stir-up milk,” I said.

Booth’s Dairy wasn’t a fancy place and the sandwiches weren’t very good. I don’t know whether my Grandpa took me there a hundred times or only once. But I’ve remembered it forever, sitting at the counter together.

Karen Anderson contributes "Essays by Karen Anderson" to Interlochen Public Radio.