Thursday March 4, 2015.
(I found this story hiding in my computer. It had been apparently forgotten and waiting till I needed it). There were two very strong, and loving women in my life; my Mom and my Nanny, oh yes I was a very lucky girl.
My Happy Cupboard
The joys I have possessed are ever mine;
out of thy reach, behind eternity,
hid in sacred treasures in the past,
but blest remembrance brings them back hourly.
I pulled open the cupboard door, the powerful aroma of cinnamon mixed with the sweet smell of molasses rushes out to greet me, bringing a smile that has been hiding as of late, filling my head full of those memories that I seem to need today. This same soothing smell used to live in my grandmother’s house.
Living in what she would call her “baking cupboard”. I stood there staring at an assortment of glass spice bottles. I ran my fingers over the cover of one of those treasured cookbooks sitting on the top shelf, then noticed on the bottom shelf, the sticky mess of molasses oozing from a “not again” leaking container. I love this cupboard, it has magic. That magic of turning my sometimes uncontrollable hectic world into something very beautiful and calming. With only that simple gesture of opening this door I can travel to a place of comforting memories and unlimited dreams.
After another joyous exciting visit from my adult children, who had filled this quiet little house with constant activity and laughter, I find it so easy to slide. Sliding into a tunnel of a jumbled mix of emotions, knowing everyone has gone back to their own busy lives. Not knowing exactly when there will be another visit, and leaving me once again alone in an empty house. Filled with leftover memories, and thoughts of my own possible incomplete fulfillments in life, mixed with my feelings of complete happiness and pride knowing my girls are happy.
This special cupboard with its many dog-eared cookbooks, ultimately giving the soothing thoughts I need, today. My grandmother’s handwritten recipes always bring joy. These memories and emotions also have me wondering if my grandmother felt the same way as I do, this very moment. When everyone of her family, “flew the coop” as she used to call it, was she lonely? Did she have to create and find a happiness of her very own? No longer being just “Mom” or “Nanny” and doing things that may, or may not have been what you have always thought you would be doing. Things in life that gave you such joy, surrounded by the ones you love unconditionally, but left you wondering “What if” in the quiet of a now empty house. Hoping that someday you would have time to pursue your own dreams, those ones you put on hold. Wondering that if after the children had started their own pursuing of dreams, if you still have time. Did my grandmother wonder if she would now be able to pursue her dreams? Did she run out of time?
On opening the cinnamon bottle the familiar smell flicks a switch. I am standing in a kitchen in the city. Nanny was standing with her red apron on her favourite colour after all. Her hair had little tiny rollers tied with a colourful bandana. A laughter pulses through the room, her laughter mixed with mine, oh it feels like a big hug. The aroma of cinnamon oatmeal and raisins coming from the oven is something that has never left my mind since those days long ago.
That wonderful laughing and sharing of those incredible stories, that constant baking and the love that only Grandmas can share with this little girl, a girl, who listened and stored every word. A wonderful storyteller and poet and never tiring of sharing the words, Nanny’s stories were never shared with the world, did she regret that? Savouring every smell that came from an old “baking cupboard” in the middle of the city, now stored in a baking cupboard on a farm in the middle of nowhere. A lonely woman so happy she had a Nanny that even though she may have thought she did not leave a lasting impression with her stories and poems, she did. Thank you Nanny.