A special cookbook lay on the desk. It’s always the same. About this time of autumn, I think of Mom and her home and last remnants of garden and flowers and…well, you know, things that are nostalgic.
Sometimes autumn decides to paint an individual portrait wherein she calls us to her aid. She stirs within us a desire to blend her colors with our memories on the palate of time. So, we go back to a place in our past. Perhaps it’s a road or an old house, perhaps our childhood hometown.
Autumn provides the outline. We brush in the sights, sounds, aromas. There may be hills, smoky in the distance or harvested fields across which we can see an old farmhouse. Perhaps it’s a town, small or big, where we see familiar storefronts, streets of houses we recognize as still having the same shrubs, the same big oak tree in back or the same porch with its swing. Just as much has stayed the same, much has changed.
Autumn begs us not to be disillusioned, but to only enjoy the moment. Wild purple asters fade into roadside fences. Reddish-orange poison ivy leaves stand out in the woods like quick brushstrokes of paint. Cool sunshine touches golden maples, their leaves still clinging to dark branches.
Autumn lays soft pastel yellows and browns as gauze over fences and bittersweet vines over end posts. She’s cleared the sky to a pristine winter-is-coming blue.
Even if the old home is not there, we can fill in the canvas. With our minds we retrace steps up the front porch or around to the backdoor. It was always the backdoor with Mom’s childhood home. Then, with my own childhood house, the screened backdoor. As soon as we opened the inner door we smelled supper cooking.
There might have been fried chicken or meatloaf. Fresh baked bread or on a Sunday evening, cinnamon rolls. Fried apples in the iron skillet or oat-topped apple pie. If the weather was very cold, a bowl of cookie dough kept us busy, rolling, cutting and sprinkling our favorite shapes with colored sugars.
Paths fade into sidewalks leading to old friends homes. All familiar places, touchstones presently there, in reality or memory.
A gentle breeze touches us. Autumn whispers it’s time to go. Her canvas is complete. We’re satisfied too, our past is gathered, our tomorrow is waiting and, for today…well, dear reader, I’ll think of you and hope you take a few moments to gather your autumn thoughts and paint them into your life canvas.
The cookbook? A book Mom and I wrote that seems like it was so long ago, Together We Share.
Here are a few of her recipes.