I recently received a great gift from my mother. The gift had been waiting for me to pick it up at my sister’s home in Maine since last fall. It is something that I once asked her if I could have as an inheritance. Mom is in the process of selling her home in Florida and has been handing out some of her possessions to family members for a while now.
The gift, as you can likely tell from the picture here, (and the title?) is a remarkably simple, unornate, and somewhat battered, big, old, aluminum kitchen mixing spoon. To some this may seem a strange thing to inherit. To me, although probably monetarily close to being worthless, it is priceless.
You see, this spoon is one that I actually remember Mom using in the kitchen of our small home in Maine when I was a young child. She would often use it in stirring a big pot of her delicious beef stew, (I still can’t make it as good as hers) baked beans, vegetables, or other wonderful food on the stovetop. I remember her mixing cake batter with it and even stirring Kool-Aid for us kids on many sizzling summer days using that big old spoon. I think I even remember sneaking that spoon, (which was much bigger when I was about five years old than it is now) out behind the house to dig in the sandbox with. I’m sure Mom scrubbed it pretty well after that.
There is one unusual thing about my (or Mom’s) spoon. It is something I haven’t seen on more modern utensils and may prove the old assertion that some things really were better in ‘the good old days.’ The spoon has a small pressed-out hook near its bowl which allowed the user to ‘hang’ it on the inner edge of the pot, keeping it handy for stirring and keeping any drips inside the pot. Pretty ingenious for something made nearly, or maybe more than seven decades ago.
The spoon also has other valuable things. It has little lines, scratches in its surface, that hold many secrets. Those scratches represent memories that it has stored for many years, and keeps. They are records, as much as any old phonograph record would be, of the time in which they were made. Some may be from scraping a big metal pot, or from being dropped on the floor by accident. Others may even be from grains of sand the spoon once shoveled into old Tonka trucks on that fateful day it found itself plowing through our sandbox. Whoops. Sorry, Mom, for that.
Regardless of whatever circumstances caused those tiny scratches to be carved into the spoon, they are certainly there forever. They record no music. They record no words. They record memories. The very moments of each of their creations there were just as real as this moment you are reading of them now. For me, they are the proof of the reality of many remembered childhood days and of an absolutely wonderful, dedicated and devout Christian mother as she prepared food for her big family.
In just a few days my Mom will be the guest of honor at a large party celebrating her 100th birthday. How amazing that is, and how amazing she is. Thank you, Mom, for your love, your care, and for the wonderful memories. And thank you for (our) spoon.