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Lilli and the Doritos Truck

Lilli and the Doritos Truck
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BY JILL MATLOW

Like many people, I fell in love with Doritos many years ago. What’s not to like about those salty addictive treats? I would buy a large bag, never intending to place one of those fluorescent plastic clips on top after I opened the bag for the first (and last) time. The bag would be empty within the hour. (Admit it, you can’t just eat one Dorito!). My fingertips would reflect that nice orange afterglow too.

Ironically, I later discovered that my inherent love of Doritos must have come from my grandmother.

Like most women my age, I was extremely close to my grandmother. Lilli, her first name and what we called her instead of Grandma, was the ‘fun grandmother’ growing up and a friend and confidant in later years. Fortunately, my parents made sure we spent a lot of time getting to know our maternal grandparents (unfortunately, my paternal grandparents both passed away by the time I  reached the age of 12).

As children, my siblings and I spent summers staying with Lilli and Ruby (my grandfather) in their small PA town while attending day camp. They were also commissioned as babysitters when my parents went away on weekend trips and vacations.

During one babysitting adventure, I remember hanging out on my parents’ bed with Lilli, watching TV and eating Cap’n Crunch directly out of the box. I thought that was so decadent at the time, and wondered if my parents ever noticed the telltale golden crumbs we probably left behind. (Side note: Did you ever notice that Cap’n Crunch’s eyebrows are on his hat? Oops!)

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Over the years, Lilli seemed to be a sage when it came to matters of the heart and would always offer me the best advice when it came to my love life. “Don’t sell yourself short Jilly” was one of her favorite lines. She did get a kick out of my blind date stories and we often shared many laughs discussing them.

About a year before Lilli died, I went to visit her at the retirement community where she lived. While I was putting away her groceries that day, I opened a kitchen cabinet door and couldn’t believe what I saw – an impressive arsenal of Doritos!

My “addiction” finally made sense to me!

Lilli lived a long life and passed away at 95. I was so lucky to have my grandmother for as long as I did. After she died, I missed her terribly. I longed for our weekly Sunday morning phone chats just to hear her voice one more time. Once, during a bad phone connection, I told Lilli I would call her right back. When I returned the call a moment later, she answered in an inquisitive voice “Who is it”? I loved her sense of humor and really miss it. And I miss all the great advice she would give me about my love life.

Two summers ago in the middle of a turbulent love affair I was involved in, the Doritos truck appeared out of nowhere. Call me crazy, but I felt it was a sign from above. It was Lilli, trying to warn me about this guy. I wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but then in the weeks to come, the Doritos truck kept appearing in the most obscure places. And the timing was so uncanny that I knew she was working her magic from above (or perhaps from behind the wheel) trying to give me a sign.

Often times these days, I look for that familiar truck with the orange and red logo on its side, just waiting for it to pass me by and offer me some words of comfort or wisdom just by its presence.

I have many other reminders and fond memories of Lilli. She used to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to me when I was younger. Years ago, I found a little pillow with those words embroidered on it and when you squeeze it, it plays the first verse of that song. I mailed it to Lilli a few years ago and she loved it! She told me It fit perfectly in the small of her back. When she died, my mom returned the pillow to me.

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These days, when I pass Cap’n Crunch on the grocery store shelves, see the Doritos truck driving by or hear someone sing “You Are My Sunshine”, I’m flooded with warm memories of Lilli.   Do you have a unique way of honoring those people no longer in your life who were special to you? Please share your stories and memories with us. We all have our own way of remembering our loved ones, who will always be with us long after they’re gone…

“You are my sunshine my only sunshine

You make me happy when skies are grey

You’ll never know dear how much I love you

So please don’t take my sunshine away”

Dedicated to Lilli with love always.

 

 

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Jill Matlow
Jill Matlow spent much of her career working in many different facets of the healthcare industry writing marketing proposals, creative briefs and tactical plans. She is thrilled to now be writing articles geared to baby boomers who are nostalgic about their past but still hopeful about their futures. While music is her first passion, writing comes in a close second.