When a loved one is gone, he/she tends to come back via memory at the oddest times. It’s always welcome to remember a favorite moment, saying, quibble or foible.
A couple of weeks ago my sister asked for an old recipe. Since we moved, I found and cleaned up an old plexiglass 3×5 card holder with recipes I started collecting in high school. Many are from my Auntie L, who not only cooked us many family meals over the decades but catered for our family’s formal work receptions as well. She had one rule that moms everywhere should use with young children. “Try it! Then I’ll tell you what’s in it.”
I learned not to ask the ingredients first and allow my taste buds to be the judge. First thing she used it on was a bleu cheese dip for a party. I hated that cheese, but loved the dish so incorporated it into my repertoire.
A prime example that reminds me of her every day is the dictionary in the “loo.” She always placed one in the powder room (she was a high school English teacher) so to use the loo, we had to ask politely, then upon our return give her a word, its meaning and use it in a sentence.
In our new place, I’ve a large powder room so I expanded on the theme. I brought in one of my husband’s nightstands that were hand-made by his great-grandfather and placed several books atop, along with a decorative plate of Mom’s. The current Loo Library includes the aforementioned Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, The City of Florence, The Prince and for a bit of light reading, James Patterson’s The Chef. Also Orwell’s 1984 and Mythology by Edith Hamilton.
Wouldn’t you know it, a friend used the loo and suggested a complement to Sun Tsu’s The Art of War with The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. It’s about breaking mental blocks to unleash creativity, by the author of many books which include The Legend of Bagger Vance. This book is required reading or recommended reading in all the military academies. News to me, so I recently purchased it to add to my collection.
Now here’s the strange one. Auntie L was known, on our annual family reunions, to rearrange hotel furnishings and pictures. She always made it better but we were aghast, as kids, that someone could do that. I came to thank her for it later on. Mom was in the hospital after her first cancer surgery. She was on morphine for the first time and a particular painting on the wall of her hospital room gave her nightmares. Auntie L went to a local art museum gift shop, bought a calming poster and taped it over the offending artwork. It made a difference.
I know there’s no canidae in our family gene pool but my dog has become an Auntie L with bed linens. I make the bed and she always has to help me fluff the down comforter. Once settled, all the pillows situated atop, she waits for me to leave. Then she rearranges everything to her specifications. Mostly knotting it all up in a ball. Upon my return, I merely say “thanks, Auntie L.”
Thanks for the memories. Hang in there, teachers! Especially English teachers. Until we can get the banned book situation under control, perhaps the fact that certain books (even the Bible, in one Texas school district) are banned, it may induce students to read them! Cheers! Dee