It’s funny the things that come to us from long ago. It might have been the cool gray day. It might have been walking in the crisp windy afternoon. But the memory was vivid. As I walked I closed my eyes and I could feel the strong breeze as it stung my cheeks and then I smelled it. Mom’s pork chops. And all of a sudden I was transported 45 years into my past.
Sitting in the back yard on a blanket under the maple tree, reading Laura Ingalls Wilder and wishing I didn’t have a book report to write. Stalling, I looked around the back yard, scanning for any diversion. Nothing. I looked beyond into the neighborhood. I could hear Gregory Patterson’s mom yelling that it was suppertime. And John-John Feesl rode by on his bike and wiped out again at the end of his driveway. Nothing worthy of a formidable distraction. Back to Plum Creek and Laura’s adventures.
Then the smell wavered through the air, right to my hungry nose. Mom is making pork chops for dinner. No one else ever makes pork chops like hers. A spicy, warm, comforting smell. Cinnamon and cloves. She’d make mashed potatoes with spicy milk gravy and green beans too. There’s something comforting about the certainty, the same-ness, what might even be considered the mundane. So many things in life change, but the smell of those pork chops and knowing my mom was there in the kitchen that afternoon… comforted me. My worries about the book repost faded. Just as Laura Ingalls and Nellie Olsen would always continue to squabble, I knew my mom and those pork chops would always be there.
Now, 45 years later, many things have changed. My mom passed away long ago, but a crisp fall day helped me remember her pork chops and the comforts she provided. Earlier this afternoon, I searched through my spice rack. I found the cinnamon and cloves and I made my mom’s pork chops, mashed potatoes with spicy milk gravy and green beans. Life is good. Thank you Mom, for the memory.