April first is April Fool’s Day and the first day of National Poetry Month. It is also the day my mom’s birthday falls. One of the things that characterizes my mom is sensibility. Craft is another good way to describe her and hopefully here are some prose that help honor the things about her that stand out to me as memorable and as noteworthy aspects of her persona.
Groggily I make my way down the stairs, through the living room and into the kitchen
Mom is stirring “Bupee (sp?) de Mabele” on the stove and I make a typical teenage “that’s nasty” face.
She chuckles and puts on the lid for the porridge made out of sorghum and who-knows-what else to simmer and cook.
Her blue alpargatas, or house-shoes shuffle through the kitchen.
Dressed in faded navy sweat pants, a free T-shirt from a Mennonite event in which the shirt is the only thing you get for volunteering your service, and a flannel over top it all, she has supplies lined out on the counter to make lunches.
Four a day.
Turkey sandwiches with lettuce, mayo (for everyone except for Dad), mustard, cheese.
For me, she separates the tomatoes, when they are in season, in a little Tupperware so the sandwich doesn’t get soggy.
The little baggies she uses for the carrots that she washes, scrapes, and cuts lengthwise, are a yellowy-orange because she re-uses them.
Sometimes I “accidentally” throw my lunch baggies away so my friends at lunchtime won’t see that my little bags are dirty.
“Where are your little baggies, Rachel?” she asks innocently.
“I don’t know,” I respond, annoyed that she would make me use something again. Doesn’t she know that I have an image to keep up.
My favorite part of the lunch, two oatmeal chocolate-chip walnut cookies. A sensible size, of course. She makes these cookies a few times a month. One of the only sweets she allows into the house.
Sometimes, if she makes the cookies on the weekend. I drink mate with her and help mix up the dough and try to make the cookies bigger in size.
“Those are too big!” she says to me aghast.
And I just smile saying, “I like them this big.”
Sometimes she takes parts of the cookies I’ve made and puts them back into the bowl before they go into the oven. Other times she lets me have it my way.
Today I stand in front of my own stove-top and stir the oatmeal for my morning breakfast. I look down at my outfit and I have on
some navy sweat pants, not yet faded.
a T-shirt that I got a from a Mennonite grab bag that says “In Harmony with God and Nature” from a Mennonite camp called Camp Amigo
and some “alpargatas” that I got from my last trip to Argentina that have been donned my house-shoes.