Below is a beautiful poem by Donald Hall called Summer Kitchen which he wrote after the death of his wife Jane. It reminds me of my childhood, particularly my mother’s place in it. She, too, saw miracles in the ordinary.
In June’s high light she stood at the sink
With a glass of wine,
And listened for the bobolink,
And crushed garlic in late sunshine.
I watched her cooking, from my chair.
She pressed her lips
Together, reached for kitchenware,
And tasted sauce from her fingertips.
“It’s ready now. Come on,” she said.
“You light the candle.”
We ate, and talked, and went to bed,
And slept. It was a miracle.
I was gonna share a happy memory about my mom on this web log today but I didn’t get very many words down before the ache in my guts became too much. So instead I headed to Dolores Park to picnic with friends before returning home to stuff myself with Kentucky Fried Chicken whilst watching Instant Family with Bevan and the canines. Even though she’s not here to tell me as much, I know my mom would’ve understood.
I was lying in bed mainlining pressed juice and binge-watching The Office on Comedy Central while hosting a fever in my body at the Element Austin Downtown earlier today when a memory surfaced that granted me a grin.
One evening several years ago myself, my dad and my brother Bryan were cackling like idiots to an episode of The Office in the living room of my parents' condo when my mom entered.
Mom: What are you laughing at?
Me (gesturing to the TV): The Office.
My mom went quiet as a scene unfolded in which Jim played the "Hot and Cold" game with Dwight's desk, which had been relocated to the men's restroom.
Mom (rolling her eyes): This show will never last.
As she walked out of the room the three of us looked at one another and did our best to hold back smiles, none of us having the heart to tell her that "this show" was then in its seventh successful season.
My dear mother was perfect, even if her pop culture predictions were not.