My Mother’s Spoons

I wasn’t born with one of these in my mouth, but I love using them to scoop up my morning Cheerios or the (occasional!) evening ice cream…in my home, they’re not IMG_1529hidden away.  That’s the way it was for my mother though – we used stainless 362 days/year while the silver lay cloistered in soft velvet, revealing its sleek glory only for Easter, Thanksgiving, & Christmas.

There’s nothing like ‘the holidays’ to harken tradition.  For better or worse.  When you’re raised suburban middle-class christian in southern California & in spite of it all fall into everyday primate ways, religious tradition can seem tedious. The bigger picture takes over, & parochial family ways are rejected, lost, buried.  Thankfully, food saves the day.  As usual.

I’ve already written about our family’s lefse tradition.  This year I reverted to the nostalgia of gingerbread cookies in a (largely successful actually) attempt to recapture some winter holiday spirit.  Once 4-year old grandson D was convinced that playing with cookie IMG_1578dough is just as much fun – no, more fun – than playing with our well-greased pile of play-doh, his hours of deep practice yielded yummy results.  (NOTE: if you try this day-long project in your own home, the energy forecast is for extreme caloric highs & possible endurance lows.)

We celebrated the winter solstice yesterday with a gorgeous (if I do say so myself) German pancake - another family food favorite…I guess there’s something to this tradition thing after all, at least when it involves apples & maple syrup.

R & I are heading out of town tomorrow – I’m worn out from all this enforced holiday activity.  A recent Xmas day was spent flying to Tokyo.  We’ve so enjoyed our past holidays in Scotland (you guessed it: fabulous food!) that we decided to spend a few days up in the Sierra’s this year with the visiting Scottish-tethered relatives.  I still have to pack, but was happy to find that 35+ year old down jacket still hanging around in the closet to help out with a clear & cold no-snow forecast…yikes, more dry weather…!

We’ve lost our way with this western world winter holiday.  I know I’m not the first person to make this observation.  In spite of my determination to rein it in, I feel worn out way before the holiday parties even start to tumble in one after another…don’t get me going about why everyone feels they have to have one.  Hey, let’s do something in March instead, celebrate the spring equinox or something!  Oh – I guess that’s what we call Easter.

Well.  So.  I do love the tradition of wishing good will, and I really do wish that for you & yours.

We’ll keep working on this December problem, OK??  & please, let’s not make it into a November problem as well.  

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6 Responses to My Mother’s Spoons

  1. Donna Maurillo says:

    I wish I had my mother’s silver. I don’t even know if she has it herself. I’ve certainly never seen it around her home, and I have been into many of its nooks and crannies. Being the tallest of my sisters at 5’4″, I take it upon myself to dust and mop all the upper shelves and storage units. At 4’11″ and 89 years, Mom can’t do it herself anymore. No silver anywhere.

    But I do have a mixed-up set that I bought a few pieces at a time from the downtown antiques fair that used to happen once a month. All the forks match, all the knives match, all the spoons match. They just don’t all match each other. But they do have a theme… all floral designs. I wanted the set to look like I’d acquired it piecemeal from various relatives. And that, they do. In reality, I don’t know whose tables they have graced. But now they have a home with me rather than jumbled in an old box sitting on the sidewalk.

    Some things need a new home so they can be loved again.

    • liveoaklinda says:

      the sister in scotland (the “scottish-tethered’ relative standing next to me supplying this information) is in possession of the full silver set as well as the gold-rimmed bone china hand-painted by our maternal great-grandmother, all of which by all accounts is well-used in their family’s robust entertaining schedule, & of which we have been grateful beneficiaries. a random spoon mandala is more my style, & besides i’d have no room for all that stuff in our house. i like knowing where it is though.

  2. Jean Brocklebank says:

    Oooooo, I like Donna’s ending thought: Some things need a new home so they can be loved again.
    Relatives in Scotland?! I have three cousins in Ayrshire (where my great grandfather, James Brocklebank, was born). Great-grandfather married a Scottish lassie, Barbara McGowan. I visited them almost 10 years ago and long for a return to the olde country.
    Scots and the Sierra (a la John Muir): may I offer a wee correction of the name of that mountain range? The plural of Sierra is not Sierras or Sierra’s. Sierra is feminine singular. It means saw, or toothed. Nevada means “snowy.” It is also singular. La montana sierra nevada is a range of mountains. So one says I visited the Sierra last weekend. I think.

    • liveoaklinda says:

      thank you for the correction about ‘sierra’, jean – i suppose it’s kinda like someone saying ‘frisco’. nevertheless, i can’t recall anyone ever using ‘the sierra’ instead of ‘the sierras’ when referring to a place they’re going to or returning from. i’ll try it when i get home & see if i get a reaction.

  3. Tammy says:

    May your spoon be filled with health and complete wellness on the holidays and throughout the year.

  4. Keith says:

    I will find time soon to page through your blog. Leta started one last year (Wagonloads of Day) and I sort of bask in her articulate-ness, since so far I have proved to lazy or too insecure to write a blog. Look forward to reading it. Relatives in Scotland, indeed! I still have a fantasy of living there for a year. My favorite place, for some reason. Cold, wet, with good health food hard to find…but it makes me believe in reincarnation as I know I am from there but have no geneological proof.

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