Sandwich Memories: Peanut Butter & Roast Beef

Christi & Amanda Hille | Fort Wayne, Ind.

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Like many children, our grandparents were our daycare during the summer while our parents were off at work. Grandma held a typical 8-5 job at the local social security office, so most of the caregiver responsibilities fell to Grandpa. Our grandfather is one of our favorite people in the world. He is a quiet and simple man. Most of his time is still spent outside, watching and whistling to the birds or carving little crosses out of wood planks. When he smiles, his entire body brightens and his eyes twinkle and move just as much as his mouth. If it isn’t obvious yet, we both absolutely loved summers with our grandfather. However, there was one specific aspect of each summer day that we both dreaded and that was lunch time.

Grandpa is a simple 1950s eater, and although we never witnessed it, Grandma claims that he can and frequently does consume an entire loaf of bread a night. Most of the time, our grandmother made our lunches or tried to leave us pre-prepared meals and snacks. However, sometimes she wouldn’t have time and our loving grandfather had to prepare our lunches. His favorite thing in the world to make was a simple peanut butter and roast beef sandwich on Aunt Millie’s Country Buttermilk white bread. Yes, you read that correctly, a peanut butter and roast beef sandwich!

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We never understand how or why this sandwich came to be but needless to say it remains one of the worst sandwiches either of us has ever consumed. Every day around 11:00, Grandpa would walk into the kitchen and begin making the sandwiches. We would just look at each other with pure dread. We loved our grandpa and he was so proud of the sandwiches. We never had the heart to tell him that we hated his sandwiches, so instead of telling him we would sit on the couch, sandwiches in hand, and wait until he went outside. Only when we knew for sure that he was gone would we toss the sandwiches behind the couch and go to the refrigerator to find something—anything—else to eat. Grandpa never found out about the missing sandwiches.

One day, Grandma decided to clean behind the couch, where she discovered all of the hard and moldy sandwiches that we refused to eat. We ran to her and explained the entire story. If she was frustrated, she hid it with a grandma smile, and promised us that she would never tell him. After that point, Grandma took over the lunches and although they were significantly better than Grandpa’s, we’ll never forget the love that was behind those awful peanut butter and roast beef sandwiches.