Saturday, June 05, 2010

Recovering Gifts

A Piece of Her
5 June 2010

I bought a chinois just like Grandmother's--
Ebay has its uses. She never called it that--
it was just a colander with a wooden pestle,
and she couldn't have told you where or when she got it.
She was always so elusive about the recipe--some flour,
a bit of baking powder, a pinch of salt (I'm fairly certain
it was Bisquick), and the dewberries, of course,
which I always thought were just blackberries.
Turns out I was wrong--and right.
Dewberries and blackberries are related,
and the name is legitimate. That makes me smile
as I press pestle against colander, juicing the blackberries;
coming one step closer to the mind of Bernice.
She's been gone for years now,
and I thought her cobbler was gone with her,
but I've found a piece of it, by trial and error--
a piece of her.

It wasn't perfect, but it was very close. It's definitely close enough to satisfy my memory. The taste of it brought tears to my eyes. I think I'll try it again this weekend. Although The Boy wants me to make a strawberry one. That feels like blasphemy. :-) But I guess I can alter tradition a bit here and there for the sake of my children's preferences. But the *norm* will be blackberry--and I'll probably call them dewberries. I'm going to try to find someone who sells berry bushes and plant them in the back yard. I'm very excited about the prospect of having the berries in the backyard like grandmother did.

It's always such a joy to find some small gift that has been passed on to me from my family members. Mother's quilting, Grandmother's cobbler, Vovo's chorizo & eggs (eaten in moderation--whew!). None of these gifts was ever handed down directly--I'm learning them now by consulting the poignant memories I have of the smells, the sights and the sounds associated with watching these women create beautiful things. And now I create beautiful things, both theirs and my own. I feel more whole every time I recover one of these treasures in myself.

Today, I should quilt. Of course, when I say that to myself, and especially when I say it out loud to someone else, I always pay for it later. The Boy wants to go to Gamestop, The Gril wants me to fix her hair, or I find housekeeping tasks that need to be done, and I feel badly sitting down to something "non-necessary" until those things are done. The trouble is there will always be a household task to complete. If I don't *make* the time for these small but very important creative tasks, I will always find reasons why it's not a good time to get to them now. I'm learning as I recover well-hidden gifts inside myself, though, that it's important to pull those to the surface, and to give them to my children.

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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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