Sunday, June 05, 2005

Hello, Mom?

Hello, Mom? I'm just calling to chat.

This is what I miss most now, just chatting about daily life, asking her questions, getting her opinion, learning what made her laugh recently, hearing about the editorial she cut out of the paper. Here's what I'd talk to Mom about today.

What do you think of that color I painted my pantry and kitchen wall? What would you say the color is? Spice? Brick? She would nail it perfectly and perhaps talk about bold use of color. Consulting with Mom about feathering my nest has been a 30 year habit. She was always interested in what I was doing.

Taste these new lemon cookies Ricky and I baked for his class project. Nice flavor but do you think there is too much shortening? How would you modify the recipe? Wouldn't it be good as a base for a fruit tart? Mom was a great cook - I know everyone says that about their Mom, but she really was. Some of the memories my childhood friends shared after her death involved her baking. She collected recipes and cookbooks and even in the 50s and 60s would serve us international food. The meals she served were thoughtful as to nutrition, presentation and taste.

I just finished a very interesting book. Do you want to borrow it so we can discuss it? It's called Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi. Mom was one of the most intelligent people I've ever known and, on top of that, she was wise and wry. Over the years, we've shared books and shared ideas from books. Sure, there are others I can do this with, but they're not my mom.

Mom, did you see the new pantry that Steve built for me? I created a roll-in space for my sweeper just like you had in Arkansas. She would have been pleased that I noticed and copied one of her creative ideas. She did things that I've not seen anywhere else, just because they made sense to her. In the two houses she built (1950s and 1980s), she held her own with the cabinetmakers and insisted on a baking counter that was lower than standard height to make it easier to knead bread, roll out pastry and mix dough. So what if it affected resale value and just wasn't done? This was her kitchen.

Oh Mom, there are so many other things to talk about - our gardens, politics, the boys. No wonder our phone conversations rarely ended before an hour had passed.

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