Baking cinnamon rolls makes me think of my Grandma Helen, whom we always called "Gramma Gome" since one of my silblings as a toddler couldn't pronounce "Garramone". She made cinnamon rolls that put mine to shame, and as is so often the case, even though I have her recipe I can't get them to turn out nearly as well. My father must have had them often while growing up, because he couldn't get my mother to make cinnamon rolls often enough. Once she had baked a batch for a bake sale, and he actually bought them from her because he couldn't bear having them in the house without sampling!
My father passed away a couple of years ago, after a long, slow progression of congestive heart failure and emphysema. Because of this latter condition, he didn't like to talk on the phone--he'd get embarassed when he got out of breath. So I started mailing him homemade greeting cards instead, photo cards I made with inexpensive prints from Walgreens attached to card stock with double sided tape. I'd mail them every week or two, maybe more if I felt inspired. On his birthday he'd get two or three, as for Father's Day. I'd send pictures I'd taken of what was blooming in the garden or a unique stained glass window I'd seen, sometimes photos from the ball park, odd shots from my travels. I though that he'd enjoy the images as a retired professional photographer.
In every card I'd write a little news of the day, but I'd always included some memory I had of him, or something he taught me for which I was espcially thankful, or why I was blessed to have him as a dad. And of course I always told him I loved him.
But then again, using "of course" is perhaps not realisitic here---lots of people never get around to telling their parents they love them, at least after adulthood. But that's never been much of an issue in my family, and besides, I'd heard too many stories of regret in the confessional---I knew better.
My father died in his easy chair, at home, (so may we all) with his wife Joyce in the next room. Joyce said that he got one of my cards on the day he died, and I mailed one that morning. Ironically, the card I mailed featured a photo of our abbey cemetery. Of course I grieved, but it was not as hard as I thought it would be. I came to realize that I wasn't quite so devastated because there wasn't anything important that I had left unsaid. No reason to anguish over "what I would have said if I only I had been there"---I had been telling him for months. And Joyce said he had saved every card.
My dad's birthday is later this month, and I got a little tearful in Target this week when I saw the perfect card and had no-one to send it to. So I'm telling you all this to get you to do two things. First, write and send that card, make that phone call, or go into the next room and put your arms around that person you love and tell them how much they mean to you. Second, bake some cinnamon rolls. You'll be glad you did both.