Sunday, May 11, 2014


This poem fits the mother I was raised by and I realize how much it defines my generation and how much I miss her.  It was written by Gretchen Friel. Her work can be found in this book, Coffee Break For Quilters on Amazon. She is featured on

Dinnertime, by Gretchen Friel.

My mother
is poised
at the stove,
one fist
protected with a
well-worn square of cloth
firmly grasping
the handle of a steaming pot,
the other holds a wooden spoon,
ageless, she is
heedless of the weather,
the price of meat.
She is whipping
potatoes with butter and milk,
sausage with onions,
beef with carrots,
the string of her apron
securely tied
around our world.
I wondered
in my youth
what could compel her
to care so much for peas
freshly freed from their jackets,
boiled just right
with a hint of
salt and butter
for children who
despised them,
groaned, pushed the
rolling green buggers
around on our plates,
not understanding the
time it took to shell them.
I muse,
reflect wistfully
as I peel carrots, parsnips,
beets, after their
muddy sink bath.
Roots are delicious
firm and smooth,
in honey with a splash of orange juice,
I add them,
my dimpled mother
her index finger
across the years,
don’t overcook.
The vapors bring me
I could not have had
a thousand meals ago.
So much uncertain
in my forties,
retirement funds
skinny and starving,
college students
needing credits
to be, at last,
As if on cue
she turns,
a spoonful of spaghetti sauce
raised to her lips,
tastes and winks,
put some in the freezer.
Her reassurance is
the warmth of bread dough
I touched as a child,
hidden beneath a
soft linen towel
in the yellow Pyrex bowl,
my twig-like finger
poking the very exact middle.
It was magic
I knew then
to make a wad of
flour and yeast
rise up, heal, fill
all who hungered in
her world,
covering hurt
with milk and sugar,
soothing fear with
homemade gravy.

I will be spending Mother’s Day at my son Ken’s in Valley Springs, and later we’ll congregate at my brother Clark’s for dinner.

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