Monday, March 4, 2019

Stories are Everywhere

What I love about the challenge to write everyday for a month is that I begin to see possibility for stories everywhere. On a morning walk and I see the sunrise and I think of sharing about myself with my students at the start of the year. Rosie limping on said walk reminds me of the x-rays that told us she essentially has no hip sockets. Coming home and seeing the snow piled up near the tree ring by our house and I’m taken back to a snowy day about eight years ago when Chris and the boys built a snowman as tall as Chris.

Stories. They truly are all around us.

Last Wednesday was my forty-fifth birthday. It’s a bizarre age, I feel young and impossibly old at the same time. My students told me that I had truly hit middle age because they assume everyone will make it to at least ninety. I regarded them with a smile and wished I could have that belief once again.

At any rate, last week Chris told me he wanted to make me a cake for my birthday and asked which was my favorite cake. This is a tough question, I mean is there such a thing as a bad cake? But my mind immediately caught on one cake my mom made for all of our birthdays growing up. I had made it for myself in the past and scribbled down the recipe on the back of a grocery list. You can see that below.
THIS recipe seems close
Saturday night Chris set about to make the cake. Upon reading the directions he promptly poured himself a drink, then asked me how to separate eggs. I taught him that and how to fold in egg whites once they were beaten and he was on his way.

Chris let the cake cool overnight, then iced it yesterday. I took a picture of it and promptly remembered having this cake so many times over the years. Times gathered around the dining room table of my childhood home. Times spent singing Happy Birthday to various family members, many of which have gone on. I could see my grandfather’s face, scrunched up with wrinkles as he blew out the candles. My grandmother’s red glasses flashed in the candlelight, my great-aunt’s glass of Piccadilly vodka and water sat nearby. They’re all gone, and so many more.
I glanced over at the cake this morning, trying to convince myself I didn’t need a bite. Then another memory flashed. After my Grandmother Mumsie’s funeral I remember wandering into her kitchen, my Uncle Bobby sitting at the table with coffee, a diet coke, a cigarette, and an entire chocolate cake that someone had dropped off. He was eating it; not a slice, the entire cake; with a fork. I raised a brow and he grinned. He’s gone now too, so I sliced off a silver and toasted up to him.

When Chris’s dad passed a few months back he began listening to a song from the band, Disturbed. I’m attaching the video for it below. It reminds me that the stories, the memories, are what keep our loved ones close by when they’ve already gone. While I love the entire song, this stanza really speaks to me. I hope it does to you too.

So now go do the best things in life
Bring the fight to this world while you can
Make the most of the rest of your life
Shine your light on this world while you can

Have a great Monday -