Unconditional Love

by connie on June 24, 2010

The phone rang at 6 am on Monday, June 9; I had been expecting the call. My grandmother, Nini, had died at 4 am at the age of 94. Those of you who know me, or have some familiarity with House on the Hill, will know that the Springerle recipe I share is called “Nini’s Perfection Springerle”. And, yes, this is the same Nini, short for Venita Patterson, who shared her holiday baking traditions with me.  When she stopped baking Springerle and I took over for my family, none of us had any idea that her baking influence would have such an impact on my life and its direction. She was so proud of me and so delighted that I was sharing her recipe. 

What you don’t know is that Nini was the most loving and caring grandmother to me. To appreciate her care, you must understand that she was my step-grandmother; in explanation she was married briefly to my grandfather and became the primary parent of my father and his brother. She continued her care of the two brothers after her divorce from my grandfather and was my father’s major mother figure always. And so she chose us, my father, then his wife, my mother, and then me and my two brothers. I had no concept of this as a child, but only thought of her as my grandmother. Not until many years later did I ponder and wonder at the gift of being chosen. There was no legal obligation, no moral imperative, nor social accountability requiring her to continue to nurture and cherish us.  And yet she did. She loved us and we loved her in return. 

My passion for Springerle was born out of the affection I have for Nini. How could I not love a cookie shared by a doting and favorite grandmother? Her heart was so much bigger than her 4 foot 10 inch body and I received so much more from her than a cookie legacy.  

How fortunate and wondrous it is to be the beneficiary of unconditional love. 

Rest in Peace, Nini. 

With grateful love,

Connie

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Peggy Shannon 06.24.10 at 9:09 pm

She would never imagine how she has touched so many! Nini has blessed each of us through you. What a gift. Thank you for sharing her legacy with us. In honor and gratitude to you both. Fondly, Peggy

2 Jennifer 06.25.10 at 2:44 pm

The legacy of a generous woman is a beautiful thing. Many thanks to you and Nini for sharing your family’s traditions and recipes so freely. Today a family you have never met will bake your grandmother’s cookies in her memory–my hartshorn is dissolving as I type. In gratitude, Jennifer

3 Rachael 06.29.10 at 10:16 pm

Nini’s recipe has been beloved by my family for over ten years—ever since I used it for German wedding cookies at my own wedding.

My deepest condolences to you and yours. She will be forever cherished by many of us out here.

4 Julie Ressler 01.26.11 at 10:24 pm

Dear Connie,
Isn’t love wonderful! My sweet loving, wonderfully generous stepmother, Agnes Williams Ragsdale was the one who shared springerles with our family for the first time. We love them and her molds because she was so good and kind to a bunch of children that were in REAL need! We talk and think of her whenever we bake and eat them! Thanks for sharing your story and reminding me once again of my own. Blessings to all great hearted women, Julie Ressler

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