Short Story


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
It was right when the Don got shot that the phone rang. I was just going to let the answering machine pick it up. “What if it’s your mother?” Said my wife. I figured it was another telemarketer. “Just pick it up.” I don’t argue with the wife so I answered it.

It was my neighbor Ginny. Ginny worked as a nurse in a nursing home. A young sixty, she had been working there for almost thirty years. It takes a special kind of person to work with the dying. Ginny was one of them. “Never let them see you cry.” That was her secret, or so she said.

“Can you help me make some cookies Kuan?” Ginny asked. “I need them made by tonight but I’m not quite sure about these instructions. I’ve never made this recipe before.”

“Sure” I said. I didn’t ask why. I just figured it was some kind of pot luck at the nursing home. Sure it’s Saturday night, I don’t have anything to do right? “I’ll be over in a bit.” I said.

Sour cream, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, raspberry jam? Looks like some kind of kolachky to me. Easy. Cream butter, sugar… make dough, fill, fold, oven at 350, OK! Let’s go! But not before we crack open a bottle of Late Harvest Reisling. After all, one can’t cook without wine right?

Mix mix stir stir crack some eggs and before you know it we’re done. I look over at Ginny as I pull the first batch out of the oven. She was already on her second glass of wine. “Really like that wine don’t we?” I said rather facetiously. No answer, just a forced smile. Maybe a little stress. I didn’t ask. The Kolachkys were done anyway. Time for me to go home and watch the rest of the Godfather on TNT. I fall asleep on the couch as usual.

Fast forward to Sunday night. The doorbell rings and it’s Ginny again. “What’s up Ginny? How did they like those Kolachkys?”

“Actually those were for Olga. You remember Olga? Polish lady about four feet tall? She loved your meatloaf.”

Right. Meatloaf. That’s the legacy I left at the nursing home. I had worked there one summer between my junior and senior year in college but that was ten years ago. I still didn’t remember her. “Olga? Sure I remember Olga!” I played along. “Was it her birthday yesterday?”

I realized something was up when Ginny started to cry. The tears she held back last night finally burst through. “She died this afternoon. She really loved the cookies Kuan. Here. She told me to give this to you”

She handed me a box. There was loosely folded note laying on top of a small leatherbound notebook. I unfolded the note and read it.

Dear Kaun, (in a Polish accent)

Thank you for making those cookies. They are my grandmother’s recipe. We had them every Easter. Here is my book of family recipes. I have no one left so this is for you. Thank you so much.

God bless you, Olga.

PS: You always made the best meatloaf.

I remember Olga now. She always misspelled my name.

We said goodbye to Olga on this morning. All five of us. The priest, my wife and I, Ginny, and Mrs. Haliway, her partner in crime at the nursing home. I turns out that Olga was suffering from terminal cancer. Somehow she knew she wasn’t going to make it past the weekend. But Easter was coming up and she wanted to taste those Kolachkys one last time. Goodbye Olga. Thanks for the recipes.
Joined Nov 21, 2001
dear kuan,
sounds like olga left you a wonderful legacy. perhaps you could share her recipes so that her gift will really live on?
Joined Jul 24, 2001
God bless you Kuan.

May you always be strong enough and never be bored to pick-up this phone.

Greeks think that an after-death letter to someone is a great honor and brings luck to the one who will receive it.

Joined Nov 20, 2000
Nice story, very touching. Good for you it's nice when we can touch someone like that. I'm glad you bring a last smile to her.
Joined Jul 3, 2002
Dear Kuan,

I just got home from a lousy day at work, tired, cranky, etc. And then I read your story. I'm so touched by it. And so touched that she knew to leave you such a perfect gift. Please tell us what you read in it. Are there any notes with the recipes? What kinds of recipes are there?
And you, you are a wonderful neighbor and friend. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Joined Dec 4, 2002

if it hasn't been said,

you are a great example of the renaissance man,

cook, baker, husband, musician, storyteller.....

a great example for us all!

I would love to hear more....:chef:
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