Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Miss You Mama

There's a pot of my mother's goulash on the stove... I made it just the way she taught me. Browned hamburger, sauteed onions in a pot of elbow macaroni and a couple cans of tomato sauce. It's the salt and chili pepper that set it off and leave ya wanting a second bowl. My mom was known as a great cook and I sure wish I'd spent more time at her elbow in the kitchen learning to cook. I do ok with meals, that's never been a problem, but there are some things that only mom can make and it's those things I miss on occasion. I DID learn how to whip eggs the way she did and every time I scramble eggs for breakfast, she is there with me, smiling to let me know I learned well.

Thoughts of my mom came back to me today as I started reading Breaking Clean by Judy Blunt, a memoir of a Montana ranch child and wife. Although I'm only 30 or so pages into the book, I am there, consumed by her storytelling and memory of her parents and grandparents. Her style enveloped me and I know this will be a book that I won't leave on the stack abandoned. The book first appealed to me because it takes place in Montana, which I look forward to seeing again next month. Memoirs of rustic life appeal to me, like Arctic Schoolteacher by Abbie Morgan Madenwald. A young couple hire on as government employees in Kulukak, AK during the early 1930's as a school teacher and health care provider. Reading these kinds of books reminds me that life has been and can be a more simple and a lot more rewarding. Their struggles make me thankful that I do have comforts today that weren't available then and that reminder is something I need to not take for granted. These tales do make me melancholy because I yearn to hear my mother's stories... her memories of youth growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. I still have her yearbooks and remember going through them with her when I was a child. Hearing about her friends and looking at pictures throughout her life was something I dearly cherished. We'd sit for hours next to her cedar chest with yearbooks and photo albums spread about her bed... those are truly treasured memories of her, some of the best.


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