Grandma told me she was a hippie when she was young and showed me pictures. Long straight hair parted in the middle. White shiny lipstick. Blue eye shadow. She wore jeans that flared at the ankle, a colorful tunic called a dashiki and lots of beads around her neck.

“When did your hair get curly?” I asked. Gran has hair that falls in ringlets around her face and turns to frizz when it rains.

“It was always curly. I had it iron it everyday to make it straight.”

“With an iron?”

Gran laughed. “Yes.”

Gosh. And people today think kids do crazy things?

Mom rolls her eyes when Gran talks about her hippie days. Mom grew up in a commune, a place where groups of hippies lived together, until she was five. Mom still teases and says Gran almost fainted when she traded her sprouts and organic peanut butter sandwich for bologna in kindergarten. Hard for me to believe, but Mom didn’t taste fast food hamburgers and fries until she was fifteen. Gran wanted Mom to only eat food that was pure and natural. Even though Gran isn’t a hippie anymore, she still goes in that direction.

Mom doesn’t.  She’s the queen of fast and easy. If she can microwave it, or put it on the table straight from the package, she’s all for it. It fits her busy schedule as a lawyer. Pepperoni pizza on Friday night with mushrooms on half for Dad.  Fat deli sandwiches with canned soup when she’s worked late.  A whirlwind trip to the burger joint in town for Super Louie Cheese Burgers, fries and a large Louie Bluey shake when she’s home early but has work she still needs to do.

“What’s a Louie Bluey shake?” Grandma asked. “Does it have fruit in it?”

“It’s bright blue.” Gran knows blue is my favorite color.

“But what flavor is it?”

“Cotton candy, maybe?”

Grandma shook her head. “Artificial color! Artificial flavor!” I figured Mom was in for a talking to, which gets me to the blue mashed potatoes.

I’ve already said my favorite color is blue. I like blue food.  When I was really little I liked blue lollipops and then I moved on to blue gummies. I like blue drinks. Every year, Mom asks the bakery to tint my birthday cake blue. Gran buys me blue corn chips (all natural from blue corn!) and makes me blueberry pie when I visit.

When Grandma and Grandpa came for Thanksgiving, I wasn’t surprised she  brought a blueberry pie. And I wasn’t surprised by the creamed onions which weren’t blue and which she brings every year. Only Grandpa eats those. The green bean casserole also didn’t surprise me. Gran makes that every year, too and even though it isn’t blue, I really like it.

But, Grandma had one extra covered dish with her. “I made this surprise for you,” she said and lifted the lid. Blue mashed potatoes!

Mom raised her eyebrows. “Did you add purple cabbage to those to make them blue?”

“No!” Grandma said.


“Of course not!”

“You added food coloring?”

“Absolutely not!”

“Then how did you make them blue?”

“I went to the gourmet store and I bought blue potatoes.” Grandma winked at me. “They are all natural. Maybe you’d like a little taste?”

I took a sample and they were delicious! Mom tasted them, too and smiled. “They are really good!”

“It’s amazing the things you can find,” said Gran. “I learned about blue potatoes on the internet.”

“Which,” Mom added,  “they didn’t have when you were a hippie.”

Both of them laughed and I smiled. I’m pretty sure they didn’t have blue licorice then either.

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