It’s funny how and when memories flood back. I never know what will trigger thought patterns, but it is always such a wonderful gift when I am transported back to another place and another time. I am blessed that most of these memories are from the good parts of my life and not the painful parts. I think God has been kind to me in that way.
Last night I was cleaning a whole chicken in preparation for roasting. As I started cleaning the cavity, I was whooshed back to a simple kitchen in Taylor’s Valley, Virginia. I stood shoulder to shoulder with the second Mom I was to have in my life.
Mary had always been in my life. She was the mother of my best friend, Susie. I always thought she was beautiful and caring, but I never really got to know her until years later. After my Mom passed away, my Dad and Mary dated a little. They found a kindred connection and two families that had always known each other were suddenly one. Mary had the greatest respect for all of us and never ever tried to take the place of my Mom. She had known my mother for most of her adult life and sat with her at the hospital in the latter stages of her illness. She was an amazing soul and someone I want to write about in more detail. She was not a woman you can describe without a little flourish. For a woman who considered herself simple, she was one of the most glamorous I have ever known.
Last night as I had my hands inside this chicken I recalled fondly all the wonderful memories I was given as a result of this relationship. She was my adviser, my confidant, my friend and my step-mom. None of those words do her justice. She was an angel on earth. Now, we laughed and we poked fun, so she was a quirky angel, but an angel just the same. She always told everyone I made the BEST coconut cream pie (I only ever made one – and that was with her). We laughed over squirrel gravy poured down the sink, over cooked spaghetti poured across the linoleum floor, over so many stories. She shared her stories and her heritage with me as if I was her own.
When my Dad died it was so hard. We always talked on the phone on the anniversary of his death. She lifted me up and I hope I helped lift her up. She never wanted to ‘put anybody out’. I remember the last time I spent the night at her house. It was after she had experienced a bad fall. There was a monitor in her room and the speaker was in my room. The next morning we got up and had coffee together. It was then she told me she unplugged the monitor in her room because she didn’t want it to wake me. That was so ‘Mary’.
My daughter and I talked today about memories and the choices we make to remember the good or to remember the bad. I am so thankful I have so many good memories – they crowd out all the riff-raff.
Treasure those kitchen moments and the everyday people in your life. The simple little jokes and funny stories along with a cup of instant coffee and a bowl of Corn Flakes are the ingredients dreams are made of.
P.S. Chicken infused with memories tastes better than anything you can imagine.