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Grief, Happiness, and Grandpa’s Brown Sugar Toast

My beloved Grandpa, Harold Roberts, died this weekend.

He was able to see all seven of his children and woke just long enough to tell my Mum and her two sisters he loved them. Then he was gone.

It is strange to think of this world without him. Odd to think of family gatherings without him sitting comfortably in a large chair sporting cowboy boots, jeans, western shirt, bolo tie, and one of his favorite baseball caps, happily visiting with anyone and everyone.

Grandpa loved his family, and prayed for all 90+ of us by name every single day.

He loved the Indian people he lived and worked with most of his life.

He loved Tim Hortons, sipping coffee and visiting with his friends for hours.

He was a most lovingest man.

He’d sit on the couch with me, one arm around my shoulder pulling me close as he held my hand. He’d tell me he loved me and want to know all about what was going on in my life. He did the same for my brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles.

Grandpa did not have an easy life, not by a long shot. Some of his stories still make me shudder and get teary. But somehow he let each painful, gutting thing make him stronger, kinder, more patient and hopeful. He was not perfect, he messed up as regularly as the rest of us, but he loved, faithfully and unconditionally. And that is what made him precious to us.

My three brothers and I have such good memories of our childhood spent with him on the Alberta Prairies.

He had a station wagon back then, and in the winter would fill the whole car with cousins swathed in scarves, toques, mittens, boots, and snowsuits. He’d set our dogs on our laps then off we’d go to the golf course where a measly hill provided hours of sledding pleasure.

In the summer we’d pile in again and he’d take us off into the boonies, bumping down rutted tracks and across fields to abandoned stone houses or weathered farm houses that still had equipment and furniture propped up in the barren rooms. We had a marvelous time exploring and dreaming up all sorts of stories for those old places.

As good Canadians we adored ice hockey and played every minute we could spare from chores and school. Grandpa would come over to our house long before the sun was up to have breakfast with us and take the boys to hockey practice. When Grandpa was there we were allowed to have his signature breakfast: homemade bread toasted and buttered, slathered with peanut butter and topped with a thick layer of brown sugar. We loved it!!! I can still see him sitting at our old wooden table, grinning as he bit into that scrumptious, sugary toast.

After Grandpa died I cried. A lot. And then it was time to celebrate this lovely man, to remember him and be thankful.

So I drove to the store for bread, toasted it in the oven, applied a thick layer of peanut butter and an even thicker one of brown sugar, then got cozy in my armchair and made a toasty-toast to my Grandpa.

I love you, Grandpa. Thanks so much for loving us. XO

Grandpa’s Brown Sugar Toast


2 slices whole grain bread
peanut butter
brown sugar


  • Toast bread and butter it.
  • Slather with peanut butter.
  • Top with brown sugar.
  • Smile and eat.
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thefisherlady - you got me crying “beauty’ tears for all the beauty you shared … He was a gift to you all…
I have home made bread and am just preparing a toast,”Grampa style”
Blessings dear one
I look forward to meeting him 🙂

Jacqueline - I feel as though I got to know a little part of your Grandpa through your storytelling, Krista. What a beautiful man! Like some of your readers, I too never knew my grandfathers. Your love for him, and sharing his memory with us, fills some of that longing for me. xx

Tracy - Tart, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your food memory is very sweet. What a perfect way to remember.

Krista - Big hug to you, dear Jessica. So sorry for your loss as well. I’m so glad you had such a good Grandma to love you. xo

Krista - Thank you so much, Karen. It is such a lovely thing to think of him living on through us. Thank you for that reminder. 🙂

Krista - Ohhh, biggest kisses and hugs to you Danyellee. 🙂 Raising a Scotch Mint to YOU darling, with all my love. 🙂

Krista - Oh, I’m so glad to know that, Mary Ann. 🙂 Thank you for letting me know AND for the hugs. 🙂 XO

Krista - That is a beautiful thought, Corinne. Thank you. xo

Krista - They sure are, dear Duchess. I bet you could whip up a delicious version. 🙂

Krista - He sure does, dear Val. 🙂 I’m so glad for his amazing example of hope, love and perseverance. 🙂

Jmanzo - This blog entry is precious, Krista. Now I have cravings for my grandmother’s peanut butter balls she used to make every Thanksgiving when she knew her grandchildren would visit her in Natchez for the holidays. Grandma Parrella passed away nearly a month ago, but I think of her almost daily. Thank God for the memories we make with our family and the ones we can capture in word. Hugs to you, friend. Jessica Manzo

Karen - Krista, I am so very sorry to hear about your loss. I do hope you are consoled by the wonderful memories you have and by knowing that your grandpa lives on in you. A big hug to you, Karen

Danielle - A beautiful tribute to Grandpa, Krista. Oh how he loved! Fun to remember those young and free prairie days. I don’t quite believe he has gone. I can still feel his quakey hand holding mine, and I know he prayed my name, your name, each one of my children’s names… to the Father just this morning. I love you and wish I could cry with you… and then laugh! Raising a Scotch Mint to you! Here’s to Grandpa!

Duchess - I regret that I never got my Grandmother’s Mushroom barley soup recipe before she passed. Food memories are powerful things.

Corinne @ Gourmantic - Such a sweet and heartfelt way to remember. He’ll always be in your heart, don’t forget that xx

MaryAnn - I sure loved your Grandpa. I knew him while he lived in Merritt. My parents came from the Meadow Lake area to Blue River many years ago. I’m glad you have such wonderful memories – the picture of you both is beautiful! Many warm hugs to you.

bellini - Your grandpa certainly leaves a legacy of love and many people who adored him all through his 94 years!

Krista - Thank you, Andrea. I’m so sorry to hear of your Grandpa’s death too. 🙁 I’m so glad we have good memories to bolster our sad hearts.

Andrea and John - Awww, so sorry to hear about your Grandpa’s passing. I lost mine earlier this year as well. The brown sugar toast sounds heavenly

Krista - Thank you so much for the hugs, Heguiberto. I really appreciate it. 🙂

Krista - Oh Katy, I’m so sorry to hear that. 🙁 Big squeezy hug to you. Jam butties sound wonderful. 🙂 How lovely to have these comfort foods to remind us of these men we loved so much. xo

Krista - Thank you, dear Faith. 🙂 I hope you enjoy Grandpa’s decadent recipe. 🙂

Krista - Thank you, dear Carole. I wish you had known your Grandpa, or been close enough to share mine. He would’ve loved that. 🙂

Krista - Thank you so much, Rosa. Especially for the hugs. XO

Krista - You would’ve loved him, Vanessa, and I happily would’ve shared my Grandpa with you. 🙂

Weirdcombinations - Krista,
sorry to hear that. Beautiful homage to the memory of your Grandpa. Hugs! Heguiberto

Katy Stewart - This is so lovely, I’m sitting here in tears, but with a smile on my face! My Grandad died two weeks ago, so it just resonated profoundly with me. My Grandad could only make one thing in the kitchen: jam butties. But we loved them! Thank you so much for sharing this, it’s just beautiful. xx

Faith - Oh Krista, I’m so sorry for your loss. This post is a really beautiful tribute to your Grandpa. I will be making this delicious toast and thinking of you, my dear!

Carole Metz Épouse Mosser - Tears came to my eyes as I read about your grandpa. Such love ! You were very lucky to have him. I never had a grandpa, both had died already by the time I was born. And your grandpa really looks like the one I had in my dreams. May he rest in peace.

Rosa May - I’m ever so sorry for your loss. All my condolences to you and your family.

What a wonderful grandpa he was. That is a lovely tribute.

I really like this recipe!



Vanessa@Luxuria - What a heart-wrenching post. I feel like I would have so loved to sit with this man and listen to his tales.

How lucky you were to have this man in your life (I didn’t know either of my grandfathers).

What a fab recipe too. The memories you have of this wonderful man will stay with your forever; how lucky you are.

Krista - Thank you, dear @76b7f5617f998f38e3daf83409eb82fb:disqus I love that picture of our loved menfolk feasting together and telling stories. 🙂 I feel so grateful to have had a loving Grandpa. He lived to be 94!!! Amazing. 🙂 Big hug to you too. XO

Krista - Oh, I love that, Jerusha. 🙂 I’m so glad you have food memories too. XO

Jeanne @ Cooksister! - Oh Krista – I am so sorry to hear that. I think your grandpa and my dad who passed away in march are probably up there somewhere sharing this dish – my dad had a ridiculously sweet tooth and this looks like his idea of heaven. I love that your grandad would take time to tell you he loved you – sometimes men from the older generation have such difficulty in expressing any sort of feelings – you are so privileged to have had his loving presence in your life for so long. And you are right – when somebody has lived such a long and full like, their passing is not a cause for endless sorrow, but celebration of the joy of having known them – and the fact that they live on in you. Huge hugs! Jxx

Jerusha Lofland - I made my grandma’s cheddar-mushroom omelette the other day. Food memories are a beautiful way to celebrate special people that have passed on. May you feel comfort and hope…

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