The kitchen drawer at my mother’s house
squeals in protest and needs a bit of prodding
before opening fully. Sixty plus years of mustiness
greet my nose as I push aside the Better Homes and
Gardens cookbook that her mother had given to her as a young bride and now is barely being held together by its aged binding.
The pages that hold the lemon meringue pie, meatloaf and
the favorite appetizer recipes I learned to make
as a teenager are loose-leaf pages just stuck
in anywhere in the ancient but beloved book.
Here are hand-written family recipes neatly
stored in the front cover of the book,
so we always know where to find them.
I’m searching for the pair of scissors that have
been kept here as long as I can remember.
Where have they gone to I wonder,
as I shuffle through the odds and ends
and scraps of paper with important numbers and
names written on them–long ago forgotten–no longer
of any significance. There are paper clips, rusting
and bent out of shape, tacks that still have sharp points
and pens that have long ago had their ink run dry and
pencils that are stubs with erasers worn down to flat, dark nubs.
Why haven’t they been thrown out?
Here’s an old school photo of one of us kids from back in elementary, folded and wrinkled such that there are lines across the child face. Dust coats the bottom of the drawer, as I rifle through and dig deeper to find too many green and red rubber bands of assorted shapes and sizes, always saved, “just in case”. Now breaking as I stretch them, long ago worn out–no longer having any snap. Here’s a neatly clipped together stack of receipts dated from the 60s.
Several broken Crayola crayons have drawn on the bottom of the drawer over time–leaving squiggly muted lines–smudged.
A prescription bottle with remnants of some medicine needed to help fight an illness–was that from when three of us
had the mumps at the same time?
Lifetimes of all of us, still living in this one drawer–
a small slice of life–everything contained within holding a story of how it came to be here.
But where are those scissors…?