Why You Should Book That Last-Minute Mother’s Day Trip


A year ago, my wife had an idea.

“What if we flew to Pennsylvania and surprised Yankee for Mother’s Day?”

Yankee would be Simone’s grandmother, Margaret Shubuck. Ninety-two years old at the time, still living in the former coal-mining community of Brenizer, Pennsylvania, an hour from Pittsburgh. Same yellow house she had called home since the 1940s—directly across the street from where Simone and her sister grew up.

Yankee was slowing down, but she wasn’t the type to give in. She was of the generation that, if she’s walking out of the house, she’s putting a look together—hair, makeup, jewelry, heels. And if you planned a visit, she would go all out in her fluorescent-lit, linoleum-floored kitchen. As her cousin Helen said recently, “It’s just what we do in these parts.” We’re talking enough home-cooked food for the Penn State offensive line, not to mention a world-class candy drawer that could convince a certain great-grandson to never return to Manhattan.

Margaret “Yankee” Shubuck, looking good, summer of 1970. Photo courtesy of Simone Shubuck

Simone reckoned that if we waited until the day before our trip to let Yankee know, she wouldn’t have the time to prepare such a feast and therefore wouldn’t put so much pressure on herself. We could, you know, just order pizza.

Yeah, that plan didn’t work.

We could already smell a day’s worth of cooking as we pulled into the driveway. “Oh, it’s nothing,” Yankee said.

Hmm. Not sure anyone was buying that, but we weren’t there to argue. Instead, we settled into the same routine the Shubucks had on so many other visits: We headed to the garage.

Yankee had set out a plastic table, but with a tablecloth and a vase of flowers on it. Lawn chairs. A patch of carpeting. I filled one of those little Playmate coolers with a six-pack of …read more

Source:: Bon Appetit