Monday, October 23, 2006

Mistress of Meals

23 October 2006, 7:47 PM
for Bernice

I’d forgotten
the smell of Bisquick and 2%
at 5:30 in the morning.

I always thought the crack of dawn
darkness was compulsory,
as grandmother moved about
a kitchen she knew like her own
floury hand (she didn’t need much light)
pressing dough on a pale yellow,
floury formica countertop.

I was always the early riser
in my family- the one up at sunrise
when I could’ve slept ‘til noon. I woke
with the first sign of movement
in that homely room which stood
adjacent to the den. Bob Barker
was hours away, but granddad’s
sausage-grease eggs were well on their way
as I perched atop a bar stool,
eagerly awaiting my portion
of the dough. I made child-sized biscuits
and handed them over
to the mistress of early morning meals.

For all I knew back then, she was
the mistress of every meal.
I couldn’t wait for breakfast, lunch,
dinner at her house- each seemed grand
to a blonde-haired, green eyed,
sleepy little five-year-old girl
whose grandparents were her world
during those short visits
to their south Texas home.

Little did I know the woman
made everything with Bisquick.
The moist and savory smell of such
will always bring her back to mind,
more so even than the mention
of that dewberry cobbler I loved so much.
I could never manage to obtain her recipe:
“A little flour, a little milk, a little leaven…”

Mystery solved. Bisquick,
though I never did ascertain
before the bush in her backyard died,
exactly what constitutes a dewberry.

I had not pegged her as coy.
It appears I have a great deal
to learn about my grandmother.

Much to learn, and precious little
time in which to learn it. Scarce
the opportunities to sit upon that stool
these days. I am so very far away
from who and where I was back then.

I remembered her tonight, preparing
dinner. Mixing Bisquick and 2%,
that unmistakable scent aroused
longing for moments long since passed.
I called my little boy from his room,
floured the kitchen table,
and he perched atop the dining chair,
eagerly awaiting his portion
of the dough.. He made child-sized biscuits
and handed them over
to the mistress of early evening meals.

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George MacDonald

"Home is ever so far away in the palm of your hand, and how to get there it is of no use to tell you. But you will get there; you must get there; you have to get there. Everybody who is not at home, has to go home."

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