Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday Memories

I lean forward in the backseat of my sister's SUV to glance at my mother.
Normally her quick wit makes everybody laugh.
Today she sits in the front passenger seat...quiet.
Soft gray curls line her face.

I have a sudden urge to lean through the seats and envelope her in a hug, kiss her cheek and lean my face against those gray curls.

Anything to make her smile.

She keeps her eyes closed as we talk about the ham we'll bake for Easter dinner, the fragrant red strawberries we'll slice to decorate pound cake, how we have one more stop to make at the market for Collard greens.

Blueish gray eyes open momentarily.
She asks if we want turkey and dressing (her specialty).
I look from her to my sister and we to our brother.
We all answer yes but wonder if the task will require too much of her.

I wonder what is on her mind...
if she is thinking, like me, about our lives before,
when holiday dinners meant we'd all be there,
all eight of us.

If she is remembering how she'd cook
turkey, dressing, ham and chitterlings...
greens, cornbread, macaroni and cheese...
bake chocolate, coconut, pound and carrot cakes...
lemon custard pie, banana pudding and home made rolls,
and yes, from time to time, jello.

How we'd all make a fuss over the meal...
how Daddy always had us hold hands and form a circle
while he prayed to Bless the food and the hands that prepared it.

How after dinner we'd all sit around
d listen to our brothers tell of things they'd done as kids
she and daddy had not know of until now.

How cousins came to our house for desert after leaving their own family tables.

How children were encourage to take one more bite of food
before opening cellophane coverd Easter baskets.

And long, long ago,
how Shady Grove Baptist Church held egg hunts.
How we, as kids, ran through that yard
looking around rocks,
wild spring flowers,
and behind the church to find them.

I wonder if she thought of the many times she'd pressed and curled our hair for church.

How she'd always made sure we looked our best. I wondered...
and then realized how grateful I was to have her.

How I hope I've inspired my children the way she has inspired us.

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