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Nana's blue tin cookies

Happy Monday! In case you’d noticed, I’ve been a bit MIA the past few days because I took the weekend time to reflect on my Nana, her life, and my relationship with her. There were so many wonderful memories that came rushing back that I didn’t mention in my last post about her - “Dear Nana” - that I wanted to take today to share a few more memories. As I won’t be able to physically attend her funeral services in New Jersey this week since NJ has a mandatory two-week quarantine period for travelers from states with high Coronavirus rates (and I’m in California), I’m trying to find ways to celebrate her life even if I can’t be with my family and closest friends to do so.

First thing I forgot to mention about my Nana is that she loved to gamble. She was a big fan of slot machines and was known to take the bus to Atlantic City with her girlfriends in order to play some slots. I always loved hearing that fun fact about her because I used to work in Atlantic City my first year after graduating from college and before moving to Los Angeles. I, too, enjoyed playing slots every once in awhile (though I’m not a big gambler because I don’t like losing money), and Nana especially liked the story about my experience playing the Wizard of Oz machine. I was on a break from work once and put $20 into a Wizard of Oz machine (that made $1 bets). I told myself I’d only bet the $20 just for fun. I bet $10 and immediately hit for $250. Since I’d won and since I’d told myself I was only allowed to bet $20, I hit the machine again and bet the remaining $10 I’d promised myself. The machine lit up again, and I won another $350. I immediately cashed out my $600 worth of winnings and spent the rest of my lunch break sitting by myself, eating celebratory french fries while my co-workers continued to gamble. Nana loved that story when I told her, and she told me I must have some Walsh family Irish luck on my side. I told her I wasn’t willing to continue to test that theory when I was up. She laughed.

The second thing I forgot to mention had to do with my Nana’s relationship with coffee. I mentioned before how much of a tea drinker she was and that she and I shared countless cups of tea in my 30 years with her on the earth. What I forgot to mention is that my Nana actually used to drink coffee every morning with my Pop Pop. When he passed away, she stopped drinking coffee because she couldn’t bear the thought of having her morning coffee without him. 14 years without a cup of coffee; I can’t even imagine doing that.

My boyfriend and I went out to run some errands yesterday, and we stumbled across the blue tin of sugar cookies pictured above. I knew I needed to get some to munch on with a cup of tea while I tune into her services via video chat this week. Nana, without fail, always had a blue tin of sugar cookies at her house. I could always count on her to have them waiting on the table or to give me the “go ahead, you know where they are” look, granting me (or any of her 30 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren) permission to go into the bottom cabinet and get them for ourselves. The last time I was with her, before we watched Hallmark movies, we dunked our cookies in our tea and talked about Ireland and life.

I’m sure even more memories will come flooding back to me for the foreseeable future. I just wish there was a way I could physically be with family during this time, which is why I’ll be dunking my blue tin sugar cookies in my tea and imagining I’m back at her house, doing Easter egg hunts in the backyard or having Macarena parties with my cousins while the grown-ups make sandwiches from the trays of meats and cheeses in the dining room and the younger kids play in the living room.

I miss you, Nana. I hope you’re finally having a long overdue cup of coffee with Pop Pop. I’ll be having plenty of sugar cookies on your behalf.

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