The Memory of a Sound

I recently purchased this magazine.
I say recently, but it was way back in 2010.

I have no idea why I would purchase a magazine called Do it yourself, since I don’t do anything myself.  There must have been something that caught my eye on the cover, but now…..who knows? This is one of those mags that if you have nothing to do all day except create adorableness from egg shells and paper, this is your heaven.

It does have some extremely cute crafts in it.


See, I even dog-eared this page on crafting with felt.  Felt makes me happy.  Not that there’s even a remote chance I’ll be frolicking with felt in the future.


This is an old railroad tie used as a mantle.  I love it.  We have a similar piece of rustic roughness found in an old building that we are going to use as a mantle in our little trailer house on the prairie.  Maybe in 23 more years or so.

But the point of this whole post is this:

These canisters.

My old grannie had an ugly-as-sin, avocado green tin canister just exactly like the one in the back of this picture.

It sat on her countertop next to the stove, and she sometimes stored goodies such as homemade peanut butter cookies in it.

I remember stealthily trying to lift the lid off to sneak a cookie or treat.  The “swoosh” of the lid coming off the canister echos in my head.  I would try not to make a sound, and inevitably always would pling, plang, and gong one against the other, giving myself away.  Like sneezing during a game of hide-and-seek.    

Sometime during my childhood, we got a new step cousin in the family.  He wasn’t one of us, and I remember treating him as an outsider.  When memories like these flood back, I always try to blame my sister.  But truthfully, I don’t know who was the instigator of being harsh with him.  It could’ve been my idea, or my cousin’s (his step-brother) or my sister’s, regardless I remember the four of us being outside huddled under a tree, being ugly to our new family member and telling him that “WE (the privileged real grandchildren) knew our grannie’s secret hiding place for goodies and that he had better be nice or we wouldn’t let him know.”

I wish I could go back under that tree and change that conversation.  I hope he doesn’t remember.  I’m ashamed.

Seeing these burnt orange canisters in a magazine stirred something inside me.  I asked my mom, who now lives in my grannie’s old house, if she knew where that avocado green canister was.  She said it was around there someplace.  Then about one week later, I received a call, and lo and behold, the little criminal she has living with her (another story for another time) was cleaning out the garage and it turned up. 

Here it is.  On my kitchen countertop by my stove. 

It’s not in as good of condition as the orange ones in the magazines. 

Why I have this in my house, in my blue and yellow kitchen, is something that I must explore deep within my soul.  And maybe discuss with my therapist, which happens to be Marie, my school librarian. 

Why, when I am desperately trying to simplify and minimalize, did I bring this old junky, unfashionable, semi-unpractical item out from the dust and mire of a dirty garage to sit purposeless on my already cluttered kitchen counter? 

Why do I sometimes go to my kitchen for no other reason but to lift the lid just so I can hear the pling from my childhood? 

I know why. 

It’s so I can see my grannie sitting in her chair with a poodle on her lap. 

 Or standing at the kitchen counter pressing out the peanut butter cookies.  She would let me mash on the cookie dough with a meat tenderizer to create the little indented designs and then sprinkle sugar on top when they came out of the oven, soft and warm.

I’m suddenly having a peanut butter cookie hankering.

And I need a tissue.


  1. Donna Hultman says:

    Angel … I “happened” upon your website thru Pioneer Woman’s blog (not that I truly believe that anything “just happens”) and must say I have truly loved reading your posts!! This one really had my emotions “running the gamut” … I laughed, (out loud, I might add) and I’m sure my darling husband is wondering what I’m doing in here and then I cried. Seeing the avacado green canister just made me lose it completely and no joke, I could smell the peanut butter cookies baking and then you really made me lose it completely when you mentioned the meat tenderier!!! That is EXACTLY what my mom used when she and I made her famous peanut butter cookies! She is gone now (2 years ) and I still find myself going to her recipe box and looking at all those stained recipe cards in her beautiful scribbly handwriting and I can spend hours thinking about all the wonderful things she baked and cooked for my Daddy and me! Don;t ever let go of that cannister! Old things bring precious memories. Believe me as I have gotten older (70) I have found out what really counts and that is family and relationships. The rest is just “stuff”. May God bless you each and every day. I’m going to go make some cookies!! I’ll be checking in again regularly!!!


    1. Angel says:

      Hey Donna,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave that comment. I’m priveleged to help you recall some memories of your mama. I agree, family and relationships are what counts.


  2. Susan says:

    me too….(sniff)


  3. RB says:

    O dear what memories!!!! Made me cry. I can see all that happening. Love you.


  4. Lara says:

    I love this story. Some of my favorite pieces in my kitchen came from my Nanny. They don’t really match but they give me comfort. She is still alive but able to be on her own anymore. I LOVE that canister!


  5. Jolea says:

    you know grannie was being super ornery when she would put the treats in the lowest canister…then we had to lift of all them bad boys without making a sound…impossible for little girls wanting cookies!


  6. Kevin says:

    That canister is fantastic!! Better than the orange ones, too!

    My Nanny had a regular cookie jar when I was little, except now I can’t remember what it looked like. I don’t even know if she still has it. Now I have to find out!


  7. WI Snowflake says:

    Love your post. I have these same things happen. A month ago I bought an apple that I didn’t normally see there. The minute I took a bite my memories flashed. It was the same taste as the apple tree on our farm. I could even smell the grass and the trees. Wow, loved it.


  8. countoncross says:

    I love this post. The old green canister looks way better then the new orange ones to me. I also love that it matches nothing in you home. Great Site!


  9. fireandair says:

    This is how I feel about my great aunt’s whistling teakettle — which I haven’t a prayer in hell of acquiring.


  10. mairzeebp says:

    I loved this post. It made me think of all of the things around my nan’s house that I find comfort in whenever I’m there visiting her. I can almost taste a peanut butter cookie now and feel that, if I’m being completely honest, you owe me one. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.


  11. Such a lovely (and funny) post. And the green canister looks very chic! Very moroccan/arabian nights….. I would be proud to display that on my counter tops!


  12. Evie Garone says:

    I think you might have to change the whole kitchen to GO with the cookie cannister! This was/is such a heartwarming blog! Good for you! Memories are what make us, and you are so lucky to have such a happy wonderful memory of your Grannie and your childhood! You go girl!


  13. brandicayce says:

    Way to go, Girl!!!!!


  14. jimgilmore2010 says:

    It’s interesting how powerful some memories are…how they can guide our behavior.



  15. nadia says:

    Hi, i just came on this post by random accident from the wordpress home page, and this post has really moved me! Old memories of loved ones seem to link us all directly back to our shared human-ness, whatever our background =)


  16. Lakia Gordon says:

    I think everyone’s grandmother may have had a canister like that LOL


  17. J Roycroft says:

    Congrats on FP


  18. SherryGreens says:

    Objects sometimes give us the physical imprints of our memories, keeping them alive just that little bit more. Things like this are important to cherish, I think. This is a great story.

    I too, like the felt crafts.


  19. Debt Relief says:

    lol I love that magazine, I buy it every time I see it. I even watch the DIY network and the HGTV channel all the time.
    It’s funny how some sounds, places or images transports us to different times in our lives… Pretty Cool!


  20. FinallyFast says:

    Both my grandma and mum have a cookie jars that my sister and I quickly learned to open a quietly as possible. My dad was actually the best at it. Lovely post, if made me miss home and my grandma’s sugar cookies.


  21. All County Insurance - Brea, California says:

    Great post! That last part really is.. a tear jerker..
    Amazing how this all started from a ‘ Do it Yourself ‘ magazine. Lovely story, now go eat some peanut butter cookies!


  22. Lezli says:

    Thanks so much for the memories. This post made me remember my grandmother’s canisters which had red roosters on them (everything of hers in the kitchen had red roosters on them) in which I used to try to sneak cookies from as well. Only my grandmother didn’t cook or bake. She purchased her cookies at the grocer. They were still good.


  23. Lori Hendricks says:

    I loved this one! Not that I don’t love all your posts, Angel, but this brought memories of my own grandmothers flooding back to me.


  24. anonnickus says:

    Good eye.


  25. mftaylor says:

    This is very entertaining do it yourself magazine. I really never got into the do it yourself but after reading this blog I may start reading more of these magazines. FYI: I love sugar cookies and peanut butter cookies. Yum Yum!


  26. Blockader says:

    Way to go, Angel! I had my time on the stage so I will stand down here on the top of my chair and lead the applause. As I clap I’ll be telling everyone around me, I read her blogs before she was famous and enjoyed them all (except the one about afterbirth) You truely deserve it, especially for that canister piece, it stirred in me memories of my nan baking my most favorite cookie in the world, and to this day, everyone here remembers those cookies but no one ever knew what they were called. Enjoy the next few days it’s going to be wild.


  27. Michelle says:

    Your story reminded me of my gran and the treasured memories she helped create for me as a child. I miss her deeply but I too have little reminders of her around my house. I’m glad you found the jar and I hope you feel it with happiness inducing cookies 🙂


  28. I felt like such a weenie crying while reading this post. But judging from all the other comments, I’m not the only one. So let me just simply say, thanks. And God bless Grandmas.


  29. Riax says:

    thats a real heart warming post. everyone needs those things around them that take them to a happy place.


  30. Roda says:

    Hi Reading your blog was a treat for we are seldom able to open up and be really open in our writing. There’s some truth in the saying age is a great leveller for when we are young we do not understand the intrinsic value of something but it does dawn on us as we mature. Nice to see your green canister set…to me it seems much nicer than the shiny new red one.


  31. brancolina says:

    nice story, very well written


  32. harkheindzel says:

    Memories as these are the things that make us smile when we remember stuff we did times back. Great post, and congrats on being fp


  33. Charlie Hayes says:

    Love this post. Made me think of my nan and her strange trinkets that have been part of my life forever. Now I have an inkering to get hold of her world map lamp, bronze wheelbarrow and a teasmaid?


  34. I miss my grandmommie 😦


  35. emjayandthem says:

    Loved this post; I have my Grandmother’s plaque above my stove. It reads “Smorgasbord is now ready; help yourself.” It hung above her stove and she’s who taught me to cook. I’ll bet your Grandmother is thrilled that her cookie jar has a place of honour in your kitchen.

    Cheers! MJ


  36. Lenore Diane says:

    This morning, my 6yr old told me about how a specific sound reminded him about something. He said it reminded him about the time Grandma came to school, picked him up and took him home to her house to spend the night. They drove through a thunderstorm, and the sound he had heard reminded him of the storm and Grandma. He said, “I wish I could do that again.” “What?” I asked. “Go to Grandma’s house to spend the night?” “All of it.” He replied, “with the thunderstorm, too.”

    Thanks for the post. Smells and sounds are a great way to relive warm memories.


  37. WHY………………………………………………………………………………………………………….?


  38. Came here through Freshly Pressed. Loved the post.


  39. kristinawebb says:

    Thank you for making me cry and miss my grandmother. This is a really sweet post. I have something similar with my gram, but in my case it was an apron, and instead of a sound it was a smell. So maybe it’s not as similar as I originally thought…. 🙂


    1. Angel says:

      I love aprons. I have an old email about the apron, that I must go dig up now.


  40. 4myskin says:

    That is so sweet. Don’t ever throw that canister away!!


  41. Objects sometimes give us the physical imprints of our memories, keeping them alive just that little bit more. Things like this are important to cherish, I think. This is a great story.

    I too, like the felt crafts.


  42. eezna says:

    It’s such a pleasure to find such poignant writing as I travel to work. I loved this piece and I’m eager to get into your blog to discover many more. Childhood is what we are today. The memories bitter but sweet.


    1. Angel says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I love getting new readers!!! Nice to meet you.


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