Dinner with Grandpa

I remember sitting at the kitchen table in my grandparent’s house. My grandpa sat at the head of the short table, and I sat at his right hand. I have strong memories about eating a particular food — meatloaf.

My grandma’s meatloaf smelled earthy and moist. I didn’t like meatloaf much when I was young. I still don’t. Part of the problem, I think, is meatloaf doesn’t look like meat.

When Grandma served meatloaf, I cringed because she expected me to eat whatever she put on my plate. She had raised my mom to eat everything on the plate. If I didn’t eat everything, I wouldn’t get to eat dessert.

I recall a specific occasion when I was served meatloaf. I added ketchup and ate slowly, but I couldn’t eat the last mouthfuls. For whatever reason, the last bit was always the hardest. I gagging, my eyes watering and jaw clenched.

Finally Grandpa scooped it onto his plate when Grandma wasn’t looking. It was our secret.

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