I was so proud of my discoveries! Some clean, freshly pressed handkerchiefs (no one uses them anymore), a couple kitchen linens, and a pop-over baking pan!
But as I walked through room after room of this once-occupied house, I grew sadder and sadder. It wasn't a house. It was someone's home. People lived here. A family history was made here. I was made ever more aware of that when a man came up to me as I was paying for my finds and said, "You better do that pop-over pan justice. Everything my mother made in that pan came out perfect!"
I assured him of my affinity for cooking and told him about www.kitchenpsycho.com. After exchanging a few more words, I took my leave and arrived home, excited to invent some tasty new oven-baked delight.
Now, a day later, pictures of that home flash up in my mind. The flawless eight-piece set of white wicker bedroom furniture. The glass case in the dining room that contained twenty different flowered teacup and saucer sets. The shelf in the hall closet, piled high with spools of assorted ribbons. The kitchen cabinet containing a set of dishes, obviously thirty years old, but in pristine condition. The off-brand mixer, with all the attachments, whose housing had yellowed with age.
All of these things had a good life in the hands of someone now dead. And there I was going through them. I almost felt like an intruder. As I spoke to this family's 40-something year-old son, he informed me that his father had died and they had moved his mother into a nursing home closer to his home in Dallas.
Oh, the sadness of growing older and being faced with your own mortality! "Old age is the most unexpected of things that can happen to a man," said Leon Trotsky.
I will be 37 when November arrives this year, and I am more surprised than anyone about it. Thirty-seven is by no means old, but how did I get here? I still feel as if I should be 23 or 24, still acting like a know-it-all about a few things and yet still trying to figure out... well, life. Still grappling with disappointments and insecurities. Still wondering what challenges - and blessings - the coming years will bring....
I have always been the kind of person who appre-ciates the small, simple things. I am grateful for that. And I am determined to remain that way. And now that my pop-over pan has a history, it waits for its first use in a new abode. It shall get a lot of use as the newest adoptee in my home!
Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle. --Phillips Brooks