Another essay on butter I wrote at the BYU WIFYR Conference:
My grandpa spread butter on his waffle slowly and carefully, so that it sank into every hole. He topped it with thick maple syrup, pouring slowly row by row, filling the indentations with sweet stickiness.
High cholesterol runs in our family. We shouldn’t butter our bread or fill the holes in our waffles with golden pools of butter, but Grandpa did. When my mother expressed worry over this unhealthy indulgence, Grandpa scoffed. Butter was natural. Pure. Better watch out for those other, fabricated foods; things that could not be tied to the earth. Those who live off the land understand these things. Besides, he’d say, he’d probably outlive most. He has.
My mother asked him, when she was dying, if he would help carry her casket. He nodded. I saw tears pooling, like melted butter, in the corners of his eyes. Mom patted his hand—my father’s father.
“It’s not right,” he said, shaking his head.
He couldn’t finish, so my mother finished for him, “No, it’s not the way it’s supposed to be.”
“Nope. Parents are not supposed to bury their children,” he said. He stood up. I knew he’d go outside to the farmland where he felt most at home. I knew he’d go to be alone. He’d walk past the barn, the machine shed, the haystacks. He’d open the gate, leave the fenced yard, and walk through the wheat field where the stalks were tall and golden, and waved like a sea of shiny butter.