It seemed like a good day to make a pie. There was just a tinge of cool air that morning and I spotted a few red leaves here and there amongst all the green still clinging on for dear life. There is something about the autumn season that makes me want to click on the oven and bake…it is comforting after the ninety-degree days.
I reached under the cupboard and grabbed the stainless steel mixing bowl. I am way past measuring most of the time and flour went in with a swoosh. Out the corner of my eye I noticed my new set of mixing bowls in three beautiful colors. Why didn’t I grab the bigger of the three instead of this old stainless steel bowl?
I am sitting in my mother’s kitchen in Greenwood, Maine, enjoying one of the few visits I can make because of my work. She sits at the corner of the kitchen table, tea cup at her elbow and pencil and pad in front of her.
“Are you writing a novel, Ma?” I tease, as she jots another note to herself.
“I’m trying to decide what to take and what to get rid of,” she answers,” and I have accumulated so much trash over the years.”
At last it’s out in the open..the dreaded conversation of perhaps leaving her home in Greenwood. For 65 years, she has lived in the little house, but she seems to sense it is time to move on. She has given me a box of pictures and other paper items she thinks I wil enjoy and if not, in her words, “toss them.”
“Oh, by the way,” she says jumping up from the table, “I wondered if this is anything you can use. God knows I’ve used it enough and if I move, I won’t be doing any cooking or baking..well as far as I know.” She leans over the little cupboard counter and draws back up, holding a silver colored mixing bowl. I don’t know what to say because, in its simplicity, it is one of her most treasured possessions.
“Are you sure, Ma?” I ask and she retorts that I am the baker in the family now and she wants to make sure it is in good hands.
There’s a piece of masking tape on the bottom and on it, is a name written neatly so that it would never be lost at a church supper. It is the name of one of her best friends, who did not survive an automobile accident. After the funeral, her friend’s daughter told her to take anything of her mother’s that she would like as a remembrance.
Her friend’s name still stood out on the masking tape through all the many washings. I think when Ma used it, she was remembering all the good times they shared.
The flour was all crumbed up with the shortening now and soon I will have that all rolled out for another pie. I held the bowl close and swirled the crumbs for a moment more.
I was holding the memories of the last time I sat in the little kitchen with Ma in Greenwood. The masking tape holds fast to the bottom of the bowl, faded but it doesn’t give up or pull loose.
Just like my Ma.