Friday, February 23, 2024

Spoonful of Sugar

Well here I am again. Just had a thought today while I was cooking. I have done this little spirit/hack for years and years... I thought you guys might enjoy doing it, too, if you have the "utensils." When I am alone in my kitchen ( which is sadly now almost 100 percent of my days), I usually need a large spoon... Remember Everybody Loves Raymond and Marie's BIG SPOON? Yeah... like that one. I have always automatically searched through my spoons with my mind half on what I'm doing and half on a dream and half on a memory. I come up with a big spoon and stir my cookies, or my soup, or dip my cobbler...  No big deal. You'd think. But there is a kind of method to my choosing, and it is whimsical and therapeutic all in one. I have seveal keepsake big spoons that were subconsciously culled from older sets of flatware no longer in service, most no longer with us. And I just choose the one that reminds me of the maternal cooks in my family. I do not have a spoon from my dad's mother, but it would be a good one if I did. However, I have one that's mine, one from Mama's good but not sterling set, my Gramma Minnie's sweet everyday pattern, and an oldie from my great grandmother Candace Valera, who I never got to meet in person. She's alive solely due to my Gramma who painted her to be an angel of steel and feathers.  On these cold, lonely days of grief, I need them all, some more than others.

There are days when I just want my Mom. Now, truthfully, that's every single day and every single minute. The only reason I can imagine not wanting her to be in that kitchen right beside me is that this great loss of my son would just destroy her. They had such a bond. He forever called Mom his warrior. So on my "I need a hero" days... I reach for her solid, rose handled spoon and hit the dough with her fierce spirit. My mother could fix almost anything. If she couldn't, she had a guy... (Daddy!) and I knew I really only needed to get to my parents' front door, and I had it whooped. So here's her spoon.

Or I might need my Gramma Minnie...  She was my unconditional love lady. I really could do no wrong in her eyes. What a relief that always was...  Now most days I feel as if I could do nothing right...  So most of the time, I'll admit this is the spoon of choice. My gramma could whip up an apple pie or cabbage rolls or just about anything a person could imagine. She was less than five feet tall, but I wouldn't want to tangle with her either. Even her silverware was "no nonsense" although she was pure magic.

Then on days when I just want to get things done...  I choose my own first set of silverware, purchased long ago to complete my life and serve my little family. It was and it quite serviceable and just the thing for an ordinary day. Those were the kind of days that Emily couldn't stand when she visited Grover's Corner in Our Town.... It broke my heart when I first read that play as a junior in high school, and it breaks it again and again when I think of those lovely ordinary days.

And finally, my great grandmother's dear old silver spoon... worn and full of patches that have lost their luster. She was alive during the Civil War...  She was the great great granddaughter of Daniel Boone's mother. She flew through the back woods of Indiana to gather embers to restart her fire while panthers screamed and her chestnut brown hair flew out behind her.. Candace was the life breath of my Gramma... She called her Mommy...  to her dying day.  I think I let them all down as I am the last of that family line through those women. ...  Good bet I won't have other children at seventy years old, so we all will be gone. So today I chose her spoon to stir up my cornbread and wave through the big pot of vegetable soup. I love to wash dishes... and who wouldn't? I am touching the past.

A salute with a wave of the kitchen spoon to my mother, my Gramma, .... and to the once-ago me...  Here's to Candace Valera, the mother of us all.


Whimsy and Hugs!

Wednesday, February 21, 2024


I have been long away, but I've actually been going nowhere fast.  I hope all of you are feeling the first nudges of Spring. We are sure lapping it up with syrup and honey in Missouri.  Even I didn't want a lot more Winter chills than dear Aunt January provided. And that's saying a lot.