It feels like it’s been raining a LOT in Delaware. I’ve always loved rainy days, and (usually) I’m the one who is delighted when I look out and there are clouds and it’s cool enough to justify running the pellet stove one more day.
The asparagus has started to grow prolifically I look at the shoots, growing so tall in the wet and spring and wonder, briefly, if there is asparagus in Heaven. Nope, I’m pretty sure there isn’t. Especially since you can’t have a crowd of more than two or three without great controversy concerning this vegetable.
I’ve loved asparagus for years, relishing the first picking, often picking it before it was really quite ready, and always taking one of the first pickings to My Sweet Mama. She often “had a hankerin’ for a mess of asparagus” before there was enough in our sparse patch to take to her. But the patch has grown over these last few years and we have plenty this year. I’ve already given away a big bag to a neighbor, and plan to give some more. There is a lot out there and a whole lot more coming.
I don’t quite understand what is wrong this year with my taste buds. I picked the first batch, cooked it up and scarcely tasted it. It felt like it stuck in my throat, then lay in my stomach, heavy, like a bite of bad food. I was pretty sure there wasn’t anything wrong with it, and was gratified when Daniel and the rest of my household ate it up. The next picking, The Offspringin’s grilled to go with an early spring cookout. There wasn’t an abundance, and grilled asparagus has never tempted me, so I wasn’t a bit jealous when they ate that. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve picked it, washed it, snapped it, cooked it, and just haven’t wanted to eat it.
I’ve wondered about the phenomenon over the last several weeks, and felt this gnawing sadness at the back of my conscious thought. The coming Mothers’ Day celebration has added to the knot in my throat and the catch in my throat. And then a picture, found inadvertently this week, brought me face to face with the fact that the Mama I’ve had for every single Mother’s day for 62 years is gone. And I cannot even walk into the place that she called home and find any resemblance of Alene Yoder there. I knew that in my head, but somehow, stamped in bright read and changed windows and different flooring, was the proof that things have changed forever and my Mama is gone.
The kitchen when she cooked asparagus and a thousand other things with the touch that she learned from her Mama, has been decimated and remodeled to someone else’s taste. And someone else, who has their own memories and opinions and ways of doing things, will soon be rattling around in my Mama’s house, making it their home. And part of me hates it so much I feel like throwing up.
I know that things have to change. I know that it is probably easier for the house to be completely different if there is going to be different people in it. What am I to expect? That someone who isn’t my Sweet Mama would move into her house and leave it exactly the way she did, and do everything the way she did? How would a clone of my mother really work out in my life and in my emotions? Would it really be helpful? I promise you! NO!!!
And so, I give into the changes that have been made, knowing that it isn’t really up to me anyhow. For me, there is no right, no real choice in this matter, except that I can choose to be happy, to be realistic, to embrace what is mine to remember and to love, to acknowledge that what is most tangible isn’t what is the most real. And to remember happy times of laughter and love and good, good memories that cannot be changed by a sledge hammer and a paint brush.
Mothers’ Day, 2015
And so, Mama, once again, I am so thankful for the Mama I had. I knew that I was going to miss you, and I knew that it was going to be hard. I’m often surprised at the things that bring a fresh stab of grief and make me pensive and quiet. Today I remember a year ago when we had no way of knowing that a short 12 days later, a fall in your bedroom would set the course that would take you away from your sunny kitchen and from us.
I knew I was going to miss you so much, Mama. I just didn’t expect that missing you so much would cause asparagus to taste and smell like grief.