In my previous post, I mentioned how much I love my kitchen. One of the reasons for this is because of people. I love to bake treats for people, but more than that, I love to use recipes from people. I have a PB Chocolate Chip recipe from Tony’s voice teacher on the Oregon Coast, my banana bread recipe is from one of mom’s friends when I was a small girl in Alaska, and there is another from a friend I went to High School with. I have many others just as used! The worn cards those ingredients are written on have the scent of spices on them. Ghost scents that evoke memory when I add that teaspoon of cinnamon or vanilla or ginger. Memories of people who have moved on physically or spiritually. Memories of boxes I sent Tony when he was serving as a Cav Scout, and parties, and entries for the Tillamook County Fair. Memories joining the past and the future with a spoon. I mix and bake and remember. The treats are shared, my family is happy, and I smile.
One of my favorite things is in the kitchen. Not the bench I sit on to read, although that is a favorite place. But my stove/oven and counters….. I love my kitchen. I didn’t choose more than the wall color and the addition of a dishwasher, but it is a place of comfort. Lately, I’ve been spending a great deal of time in there. Last week, I decided to use up some Halloween candy and asked my youngest to peel me 50 eyeballs while he was sitting in front of the computer. He did and I popped them in the center of what were supposed to be PB Blossom cookies. They ended up looking like flying saucers, but I’m told they taste fine!!! On Wednesday one of my best friends had a birthday. So, we celebrated her. Those were basic instant pie treats with chocolate mint sugar cookies and topping, but soo yummy! I’m not sure what is next on my agenda, but there are some aged bananas on the counter that need baked into something…….
My youngest could probably sell a wet suit to a guy who never leaves his home in the desert. I was taking sunset photos on my cell phone and the spot in the first one happened over and over. I took another a smidge later with the camera. When I showed the photos to Jon, he told me it was a lens flare. Which is correct. I said it had never ever happened before in all the sunsets I’d taken with the cell phone. He then proceeded to explain it was because the sunset in Oregon was in a different angle or hemisphere from the ones in AK. I was dubious, but willing to follow along until he said, ‘Hey, that sounds pretty good, doesn’t it!?!’
I am so glad I don’t play poker and don’t play with him! I definitely missed him while I was in Alaska.
Hours after my last post on this blog, mum moved on. It was hard to find blessings because I was so busy and angry with her. (I was left with a bit of a mess) I finally returned to Oregon and the day after my arrival, a Tuesday, I visited one of my dearest friends in town. Aunt Karen, my husband’s aunt’s sister (it is a small town, relations are like dandelions!) was in a nearby nursing facility. It was a wonderful visit full of laughter and memories. She even mentioned it on my FB page that evening. The next Sunday, in church, we learned she was gone.
While I was taking care of mom, I learned something important. I was always told man was created to love, that there isn’t enough love out there, love is the most important thing ever. Yet, a person cannot love until they LIVE. If I had chosen to put off a visit to Aunt Karen, I’d have regretted it. Mom constantly said she wanted to visit Homer (I’ll take her ashes in the spring) or Minnesota (I sent her ashes there before I left home-Alaska). Don’t wait if you want to do something. Enjoy the world around us and LIVE!
I’ve shared this Point of Grace song numerous times, it is more apt in the place I am in now.
Sunday’s visitors for mom were varied. These two stood out. One of her teaching friends prayed with her and told her it was ok to let go when you are in so much pain. Right after, mum’s pastor arrived and agreed to give mom communion. This is one of mom’s favorite parts of church and she’s missed it a great deal. Her pastor is fresh out of school and one third of mom’s years, but the young woman took it in stride. She rounded up a can of grape juice and some crackers. Mom isn’t eating anything, so we had to come up with something else. Her pastor dipped a smidge of cracker in the juice, prayed, and wiped it on mom’s bottom lip. She tried to feed it into mom, thankfully it fell. However, mum had the taste and that was what mattered.
A pocket of peace enveloped the three of us briefly and it was beautiful. I’m thankful today for pastors who think on their feet, stocked nurses stations, and the blessing of communion.
I’m hoping this post has the layout I desire, but it’s not looking quite right from this side of publication!
It’s the first of Autumn and mom has said she’s ready to let go. She’s had dozens of visitors, flowers, and a stuffed dog. I think she is hanging on, just waiting for my aunt and cousin to arrive. They are flying up from the states and should be at the hospital by early Sunday morning. Fall is a stunning season, generally short in Alaska, but not this year. It’s lasted for weeks, exhibiting colors rarely seen. I kind of like mum leaving in this blaze of color and change. It’s a time of beautiful vibrancy, her sort of thing! I know I’m ready for her to rest, I’m glad she finally is, too.
While I drove, the world changed. The sun was just starting to peek through the clouds, painting the sky with splashes of pink and orange. Blazing russet fireweed stalks topped with soft white fluff became a stunning foreground for the varied heights and colors of the autumn trees and foliage. A young bull moose with bloody antlers was tearing into dew drenched greens, his brown fur blending into the dark spaces around him. Touched by the rising sun, everything was muted into a mystical mosaic. Even the man made colors and machines weren’t out of place in the emerging day. I smiled with joy, grateful I didn’t have to be awake at an early hour to experience a gorgeous moment. A moment that, a few miles later, became another beautiful September morning on the Kenai.