I have been feeling the “presence”* of my mother these past few days or weeks. Maybe it is all the cooking, cleaning and running the house. Mom believed that all of us should know how to keep house: boys and girls. I’m really grateful for what she taught me. They are prime skills at this time.
I was mixing a large bowl of chicken salad, and I was using a serving spoon (a small one that came with our silverware). I could hear Mom say, “Don’t use a small spoon for a large bowl. Get a spoon big enough to do the job.”
I said, out loud I must add, “I know Mom. I know.”
Ena said, “What?” rightfully confused by my sudden utterance and calling her Mom.
I told her that I was talking to my Mom saying to get a big spoon instead of a small spoon.
I also felt her when I was mopping the kitchen floor. I was rinsing it off when I heard her tell me, “You need to rinse the cleaner off. The cleaner is designed to attract dirt. Leave it on the floor and you’ll just attract the dirt.”
This are strange times, when people are falling back on old-school skills. People are buying chickens and planting gardens. It feels like the 40s (minus the War), sort of. People looking to be resourceful, minimize shopping, not go out. Cooking at home. Growing their own food. Taking care of their house and loved ones.
We are lucky that we have the tech to help us live through this with some comfort. I can order groceries to be delivered in a variety of ways. We can see the latest movies on-line and streaming if we want to pay for it. So, unlike the 40s, we have tech to help us through, but we don’t have the social gatherings that came with the war.
When we lived in Wisconsin, we went down to New Glarus – a little town that calls itself “Little Switzerland”. There is an old bar called Puempel’s Olde Tavern. It was established in 1893. There is a tiny dance floor in the back of this shotgun tavern. [That is, long and narrow not that everyone is carrying shotguns. That you have explain this says something about these times. – Editor]
On the dance floor, there were elderly couples, mostly, dancing waltzes and simple swing, to old songs like The Tennessee Waltz played by a live three-piece band. Elderly women sat along the wall waiting for an invite to dance. I had the sense that these people were here in 1943 – the men young and handsome in their uniforms – the women waiting and worried.
These times, there is something that brings us back to the core of living. To those old voices speaking of cooking and cleaning and running house. Of growing food and checking on neighbors. Fast Fashion seems ludicrous (more so) at these times. Sewing masks and making art and bread have come to the fore. And, I guess, so has my mother’s voice – teaching the arts and crafts of running a home.
* I do not think her ghost or spirit is in the house. This is just the lessons and voice of my mother coming back across the ages.