As the days slip into fall and the air changes (even here in TX) I moved the thought of my first set of holidays without you from the back burner to the aching front burner of my mind. I often wonder how I will make it through this next month and a half. Where does one get the strength? Where do I begin to inhale when life is suffocating me with Christmas music and family movies about THANKSGIVING? Today was the start of dealing with this painful time of year. Today is the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Today is our traditional shop for food until our feet hurt day. Today was the “better clean all the crap out of the fridge because I am filling it” day. Today was the two-sided shopping list day. Today was the “hey I can’t find the scrap of paper that recipe was on” day. Today was OUR day to begin to create a day of thanks for our friends and family that ventured into our home both in Los Angeles and then in Chicago.
But my fridge is just that MINE ~ so there lacks to be wall-to-wall food. There is not scrubbing going on because the house will be filled with voices and laughter. There is no guest list being updated and changed by the moment since we lived by the “everyone is welcome” philosophy. And your tin box of recipes sits untouched in the cabinet waiting for your hands to run along the endlessly stuffed square of yummy ideas. Your recipes sit waiting for you to once again unfold their tattered ends of crumpled paper. They wait for you to drop new drips of sauce, oil, and butter on them ~ giving new stains to the recipes of love you shared with those of us lucky enough to have had our mouths fed and our souls nourished by YOU! The glass pie pans sit collecting dust in the lower selves and will not be filled with apples, pumpkin, and pecans this year. I will not have the joy of cleaning flour off ever surface in our kitchen. Brown sugar lacks to be in the fridge and bread is not laying out to get hard for your stuffing. Folding chairs will not be pulled out and plastic ware is not being purchased. There is the absence of the smell of cinnamon that normally wafts through the house this point of the year. Your turkey plate remains wrapped and put away. The rolling pin of life that you used to not just create a yummy crust but a smile for so many faces stays in the draw untouched.
The over stuffed tin box of all your recipes stays on the 3rd shelf, I can see it from a distance but not reach it with out getting on my tippy toes. I guess I like it that way. I guess it reminds me of you right now. You are so close yet so far away. It is like I can feel you hugging me and also aware of the fact that I will never feel that hug in real life again. Your handwriting, your mom’s, your dad’s… everyone who is gone from me ... it fills the papers in that box. Memories of flavors rush thought my head as I remember you writing new recipes on the back of old envelopes, torn scraps of paper, or napkins. Your recipe box is a plethora of memories crammed together with love. The flavors of our life are sprinkled in that box. And I can’t bring myself to open it, to take it out of the plastic bag you put it in. I can’t fathom the thought of eating on Thursday. And so as many of my friends and family sit together next week, as they come around the table to eat, be merry, and share their thanks~ I will sit in silence! I will sit with the hole in my heart because you lack to sit next to me. I will not ware an apron, feed mouths, or be a hostess, I will sit, I will wait, I will think… of YOU! Life just doesn’t “taste as good” without my favorite chef in it!
Around the world and back again~