When we were up getting Dad settled a couple of weeks ago, one of the last things I did was to grab Mom’s recipe card box. Why did I do that? I have no idea. It isn’t like I look back fondly on certain family dishes as there weren’t too many of those. Most of our dinners growing up were budget friendly or things that could be quickly prepared.
Plus, Dad believed all vegetables should be boiled until lifeless and then served with butter to replace the flavor that was discarded with the water. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered there were other ways to cook vegetables and that they were actually pretty good.
I’ve looked through the box and most of the cards are things I don’t remember. Guess that’s not a real shock. Once they retired and moved to the little beach town, Mom was able to try a lot of new things. I did find a recipe for baked beans that I remember. Mom could always bake but, as she told us many times, she could make a chocolate cake in her sleep so there is no recipe there.
There was also a recipe for the dreaded chili sauce. I call it that because she’d make these huge batches for canning and it required a lot of vinegar and needed to cook for multiple hours. Nothing like the smell of vinegar. Think if I breathe too deeply, I can still smell it.
I think I start to understand why you reach a certain age and you start holding on to things. Life rolls on and events close certain doors forever. For example, we would coordinate our schedules to have all of us offspring back for a week in the summer. It was a low key thing but it still a good time to see everyone. That will never happen again. In all likelihood, the next time the four of us are back there it will be after Dad is gone and we have to deal with the task of cleaning out the house and disposing of all the memories.
I don’t know why I’ve gotten into this mood. Maybe just too much happening in a short period of time overloading my mind with memories and sadness. Fall tends to bring out a sadness in me. Just something about watching all the flowers wither and die and knowing that most of the color leaves the world for a few months just makes it easier to get to a sad place.
Sometime before things got crazy, Dad was talking about trying to get down here for Thanksgiving. Think that was the one holiday where he felt the most alone. But that is never going to happen again. Even if I could figure out a way to get him down here, we have no way of giving him the care he’d need based on his current condition. Another door from the past slammed shut.
I guess in some ways it kind of becomes easy to assume that things will always remain the same. Even when you know that life is always changing, you can block that part out and thing that the patterns that have been established will continue into the future. But of course that isn’t how any of this works.