As always, the days leading up to yesterday were difficult--knowing that the anniversary date was coming, fear of how it might affect me, worry that I might get too depressed, wondering how quickly I will recover this time. It all sounds very self-involved, isn't it? And yet, who cannot be that way when grief and loss are involved? It is after all, a personal experience that is only mine and no one else's. We all deal with tragedy in our own ways.
Normally I go somewhere and stay very busy on that date, avoidance being the best route in the past. This year I stayed home and stayed busy with mundane things like painting the kitchen cabinets, working on a big dresser and entering data for my taxes. And it was okay. There was time for reflection and remembrance, time to communicate online with friends and by phone with a couple family members who thought to call. One day at a time, right? And yesterday was not a bad day in the end. I got through it, and this morning woke up cheerful and ready to move on.
So today it's back to mundane. I have no need to go out for the third day in a row. The cabinets got their final coat of paint this morning and await the polyurethane coating to protect them. Larry has finished the doors with new stain and polyurethane and I have new-to-us old white glass knobs for handles. We painted inside the cabinets and they look fresh and clean. Last week I painted the cabinets the same sage green I used on the inside, and guess what? I didn't like it! It looked too blah, somehow. So now I have painted them a deep red called Tuscan Red. It's one of the General Finishes paint colors. I really like General Finishes milk paints and have been using them almost exclusively. I tell you though, that green was good paint, whatever it was. I bought it at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Charleston and it was some of the best paint I have ever used. Two coats gave excellent coverage.
I decided to bake this morning to warm up the house. It was cold last night, down in the low teens and there is a chill in the air that makes it feel even colder than that. Since I had an open jar of applesauce and some raisins leftover from Christmas baking, I decided to make Applesauce Cake (my recipe is here), but to bake it in muffin tins. Two reasons for that: I love my old muffin tins' shape, and muffins give a controlled portion, unlike a cake where a piece can be as big as a person wants to cut it! (I was surprised when I linked the recipe to find I posted it on February 2, 2008, just two years to the day before I lost my son. Life has odd coincidences.)
It hit me as I finished making the muffins that I use pretty much all vintage kitchen tools these days. This morning for example I used my old muffin tins, Pyrex bowl and measuring cup, aluminum measuring spoons, my mother's KitchenAid mixer, a red-handled dipper, and the recipe is kept with all my other favorites in an old photo holder. Then there is the Ball jar that held the applesauce, my little Hazel Atlas nut chopper I used for the walnuts, and of course my trusty Tappan range. Even the butter was melted in an old cast iron saucepan.
What is the pleasure of cooking with these old tools? Perhaps it is that they've stood the test of time and are still here, ready to work. There is comfort in holding a ladle that was held by cooks before me; perhaps some of them also experienced tragedy and loss and yet they too probably continued to cook, laugh and love.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.