Last night I sautéed onions to golden, then added two thinly sliced red cabbages along with apples, salt, and honey. This was a speciality of my German-rooted mother, a woman who died twenty-two years ago.
I’d softened the dark crystallized honey by putting its jar in a pan of boiling water. It slid into the cabbage-onions-apple mixture in a steamy swirl.
As I rubbed off the jar’s label in preparation for the recycle bin I saw it was originally from the Good Foods, Good People Co-op in Lexington, KY, my hometown until college.
I was in Lexington this past April, after my Dad died. The estate attorney told us that although the contents of the house were ours, the house itself was Dad’s wife’s. Even though her family were OK with us being there, we were technically trespassing. My brother and I sorted, packed and moved everything we could imagine wanting into a storage unit between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, stopping to sleep only briefly.
Of all the memorabilia, how ridiculous that I grabbed a nearly-empty jar of honey. And how grateful I am to have been ridiculous.
Let’s hear it for the muses that take care of us even when (especially when) we are stumbling through our days in a haze of shock and disbelief, bone-tired and muttering.
Let’s not overthink our gut-level choices: let’s allow them to sit, darken and crystallize into the sweet and savory comfort we didn’t know we needed.
May it be so for you as well.
If you would like to explore how memory can be shown in fiction, check out my post “Everything happens at once” at A Fiercely Kind Word.
Here here! Or hear hear!
I always smile when I hear from you. Thanks!
When my uncle died of AIDS here in Atlanta in the 90s, I came down with my parents to clean out his room. He lived with someone else, renting space in that person’s house. I don’t know why, to this day it still seems ridiculous to me, but in the last moment, I stole one of that man’s CDs. It was a Harry Connick Jr. CD. You must remember how popular Harry Connick Junior was back then. Also, because my uncle didn’t have any CDs in his room, I had surmised that they must have combined their collection and somehow I decided that I was taking back something I felt like should have been mine.
Maybe it *was* your Uncle’s CD and you were supposed to have it!! And yeah, the way we humans assign meaning to inert objects is quite the phenomenon.