As I look down at the flour on the floor and the straw of the broom as it meets the floor at the edge of heap, I swiftly move it through the white powder. In the motion, my mind sweeps over my memories and I find myself standing beside the table in my boyhood home.
My Grandma Kitty is standing at the end of the broom sweeping flour that I had managed to spill as we were preparing biscuits and getting ready to bake a batch of cookies.
“We don’t have to mention this to anyone,” she said. “This will be our little secret.”
She moves the flour into the dustpan and she taps it on the edge of the trashcan.
“Where were we?” she said. “Yes, we need some lard to add to the flour.”
“Will Crisco do?” I asked.
“Sure,” she said.
I grabbed it from the cupboard beneath the phone behind the kitchen door and sat it on the table next to her.
So with her hands she worked up the biscuits dough and patted out the biscuits placing them on the baking sheet.
“Now, that’s done and we can concentrate on the cookies for this afternoon,” she said.
Mother was hosting the neighborhood ladies and some friends for tea.
Grandma Kitty was making the only visit she ever made to our home. She had been sick dealing with a heart problem and had left the mountains to convalesce at our home.
Despite the fact, she had never lived in the city, she was thriving and enjoying the opportunity to participate in all the activities that kept our home hopping when I was a boy and my parents were in full swing with their work and volunteering in the community.
She found some new friends with our elderly neighbors and in just a short time, she and my Aunt Norma Jean were changing their routines once centered on the farm, the chickens, the cows, and the garden, to having the opportunity to go and do anything they wanted in the city.
After quite a while of rest, she still found comfort in being able to do. I think no matter what afflicts us, how old we are, or what challenges we face, we need the ability to give and feel useful in our talents.
Grandma Kitty had ran a farmhouse from her mid teens to he mid seventies, she could do it in her sleep, and though she had slowed, she still wanted to contribute even though she was in her daughter’s home.
Aunt Norma Jean was mentally retarded from childhood and never lived outside of home while my grandparents were living. Though she faced many challenges, she was able to learn many functional tasks of working around the farm and numerous games that the children enjoyed playing along with her. During the visit to our home, she joined right in around the house helping to take some of the worries of day-to-day cleaning off mom and helping with anything needed for Grandma. She was excited like I was in the new activities we chose to fill the days and meeting new people who rotated in and out of our lives on a daily basis.
As Grandma Kitty improved, she took the reins of a few activities in the kitchen, which brought her to this adventure in my memory. Between the mixing and the spilling flour, I found my Grandma in a way I had not before. I found a smile that was seldom seen in the stoic face of the Appalachian woman I knew. The burdens of the farm lifted off her back and her domain rather than endless acres were simply a 12 by 12 kitchen.
I don’t remember how long she stayed with us. Somewhere around a month, as best I recall, but eventually our time together would end and she would return to the farm. Though there were discussions of them coming to live with us permanently, the input of mother’s other siblings prevailed and that would not happen.
The day she left, that was a sad day for me, I loved having she and Norma Jean with us and as I look back, I think they both thrived and seemed so happy. While I learned so much in my times with them on the farm, I will never forget these moments of sharing our lives with them when as we baked my grandmother taught me how important it is to feel you contribute to the world each and every day.
Have you made your contribution today? Have your helped someone in your life feel useful and needed? Don’t miss a chance to uplift the life of someone you love!