My dad was the pancake king. He didn't make the batter from scratch, but he had experimented with all of the mixes and had found the perfect brand that always worked and tasted great. I can see him now over the griddle, knowing just how much batter to ladle and exactly when to flip them so that they were perfectly done inside and just a bit crispy on the outside.
I certainly can not even pretend to know when he bought the case of a dozen bottles of Old Colony Maple Syrup. Dad's been gone for 14 years, so it is at least 15 or 16 years ago.
I remember shortly after he died, and mom was moving out of the house into a smaller apartment, I noticed a couple of bottles left in the original carton and asked her if I could have one. She gave me one, but was not willing to part with more than that!
Needless to say, mom didn't make pancakes too often without dad there to make them for her, and when she died in August 2009, there was one unopened bottle of Old Colony Syrup left.
It took a year and a half, but this morning Marc and I used the last drops on the toaster waffles we had for breakfast. Like good whiskey, dad's case of Old Colony Maple Syrup, aged beautifully and was as good today as it was 15 or 16 years ago. I thought of him every time I opened the bottle, but I never really thought about what it would feel like to finish the bottle to the last drop. When it happened this morning, I wasn't really prepared for it. The bottle sat on the counter for several hours and then I decided to wash it and photograph it and sat down to tell the story.
For at least the past 15 years there has been an open bottle of Old Colony Maple Syrup in either mom's or our fridge. All from the same batch that dad bought probably on sale at Super Grocer in Steveston.
I think for both of us, it was a sweet reminder of dad. Perhaps my lingering over this empty bottle is a sign that they are together again flipping pancakes and thinking of us.