Monday, April 9, 2012

Murphy's Oil

After devouring as much cake as he could before it mysteriously disappeared into the hands, hatches and floors of the daycare, my son ran off with a friend and I had some time with my daughter.

We talked about her day. She was extremely excited about a new table and a new house and how nice it was to have a table; they had just set it up in the kitchen. My face started to sink as I listened through forced smile while she described to me my grandmother's dining-room table.  The one I'd lost in the divorce.

Childhood memories flooded my eyes, so I sucked them down toward my heart, stopping at my voice so I could share a singular memory from that childhood artifact that served as my inheritance. Rather than brand it as "mine," I thought I could simply share it with her from a distance.  I told her enough for her to know the table meant something to me; after-all, she could enjoy it, even if not with me.

When I got home, I started remembering.

Days like film-reels began at that table in my grandmother's house.  Friday nights, Saturday afternoons, weeks at a time in the summer, -stories like fairy-tales mixed with memories beyond imagination existed in that hearth center, a life-force that pounds even stronger sensed through the experiences of childhood.

Maybe its time for creative non-fiction to be a memoir, not for adults, but for the child inside who remembers Fourth of July like heaven, and thicket as a fairy fortress whose thorns protected me from dragons and angry babushkas.  Perhaps its time to nourish; time to get myself out of the rut and into a place that I remember as "safe" even when it did skin my knees to nothing.

My childhood exists somewhere in there.  I catch a shard-like glimmer of it on (very rare) occasion.  Maybe if I approach optimism like a quest, -risking an adventure to crack the stone of hardened memory.  Perhaps if I'm brave and take that risk, the light won't go all the way out, the way I so often feel it has.  I want so badly for it to be real.  I want so badly to catch fire once more.  And mostly, I want the light back so I can teach my amazing children how to keep it aflame throughout their lives.


  1. On any given day, my grandmother sits on my shoulder and reminds me how to season this or iron that. I understand your pain of not having that table. (But you came full circle in this entry. A nice lesson.) Your grandmother's joy, her memory will be yours forever. Keep that light burning bright. Aloha!

    PS Here is a celebration I wrote about my grandma's kitchen:

    1. Thank you for your reply! Strange how even now, so many of us grow up in the kitchen. I hope my daughter will know the smell of basil and dill because of me. Haven't cooked in a while. I just might. Thanks for that.