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Sourdough Pancakes and Paying Respect

By Catherine Pavia

This week I had 2 completely different, unrelated experiences that, as I’ve been thinking about them, have become very related in my mind.

The first experience: My husband, kids, and I drove up to Utah to spend 10 days with my family. After arriving, I learned that I was just in time to attend the funeral of the woman who has lived next door to my family for 30 years. She was a surrogate grandmother of sorts to us, starting when we were kids and continuing to the time when I would bring by a new baby to ooo and ahhh over. At her funeral, one of the speakers said that he used to not like funerals and didn’t see the use for them until his own parents and relatives passed on. Now he realizes that funerals are opportunities to celebrate the life of the deceased as well as the opportunity to pay our respects.

The second experience: On the morning of the 4th of July, my dad made us all sourdough pancakes, which he does whenever we get together. Sourdough pancakes, you see, have been a part of our family ever since my grandpa and his brothers went out with the sheep camp every summer when they were boys. They had no refrigeration, so with them, they took a sourdough start, and every morning, before making the day’s sourdoughs, they saved a new start for the next day. My dad’s start is over 50 years old. As I savored my sourdough pancakes on the 4th, I thought about my grandpa.
Making sourdoughs, eating sourdoughs allows me to celebrate my grandpa’s legacy, both culinary and otherwise. It allows me to pay my respects to my heritage and those who have gone before me.

What do you do in your life that is a way of paying respect?
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About Catherine Pavia

(Prose Board) has worked as a cherry sorter, file girl, piano teacher, writer, editor, and college professor. She currently works full-time as the art director, events planner, chauffeur, and referee for her four children. She spends a good deal of her time running—be it down the supermarket aisle after an escaped child, around the living room in a heated game of flag football, or on early-morning runs/therapy sessions with her neighborhood friends. She earned her BA and MA in English from BYU and her PhD in English from UMass Amherst.

5 thoughts on “Sourdough Pancakes and Paying Respect”

  1. I compost as an homage to my maternal grandfather who was a farmer / rancher in Lehi for most of his life. I live in the city limits of Wichita, KS in a subdivision, but I teach my kids that we need to feed mother nature, and I used to take them on farm tours when we lived in WV. I want them to understand a small part of the life their great grandfather lived.

  2. I will have to think about the prompt, but I just wanted to say that my husband makes sourdough pancakes for our ward's 4th of July breakfast every year. I think sourdough pancakes is a tradition he got from his parents.

    50 years of the same start is impressive! That really is a legacy!

  3. I was privileged to have two incredible grandmas. They were very different in their interests and daily lives.

    When Grandma D. passed away it was said that her life was one of quiet, sustained goodness. She never wrote a poem or has some great artistic work. She wasn't a civic leader or famous. She was good. She loved her family and God. For her funeral, the chapel, the cultural hall, and clear back to the stage was filled with the lives of people she had touched by her quiet, sustained goodness.

    My Grandma K. knew how to make things magic. There was magic in a beautiful rock or flower. She always had candy in her purse or warm cookies when we came to visit. She knew how to make a young girl feel special.

    If I can be like my grandmas even just a little bit then I will have had a successful life. I will have had a life where little me made a difference. I want to be good and compassionate. I want to make things magical for my little girl. If I can do those two things then I have payed respect and shown that they have taught me well.

  4. Now you are just making me crave sourdough.

    I am with you on the funerals- my grandma's was such a wonderful family gathering and honor to her life. Remembering that, made me sad to think of other funerals I've been to that didn't have that many people that showed up, celebrated and honored a life. Some really do that, and some don't.

  5. Timely post for me to think about legacies and funerals. I leave for Utah tonight to say goodbye to my dad. I've done this a couple times over the last 5 years he's been on dialysis, but now it will be the last as he is refusing treatment.

    I'm a positive person. I'm focusing on the good moments. It is helping me realize what I do have from him. There are many good things. I'm determined not to focus on the not good or harder stuff. I've already been over those in my mind. I want my heart to be filled with compassion. He was very charitable to the very needy. I have that trait from him.


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