A Farmer’s Market Remembers When

Yesterday I bought some raisin bran muffins. I shouldn’t have because I am dieting and these are certainly not diet food, but they just sounded good. This morning as I took my first bite I was taken back in time, nearly 25 years. I was sitting on a bar stool in my grandmothers giant kitchen. Eating her Post Raisin Bran recipe version of a bran muffin and sipping on a glass of milk. I can smell the musty coming from the basement and feel the golden shag carpet beneth my feet.

My grandmother, we call her Mema in true Southern fashion, didn’t think she was a baker. She would play and throw things together, but she didn’t think she was very good at it. Well, I beg to differ. If she had been a bad baker I wouldn’t think these amazing bran muffins could rival hers. Until now I hadn’t had a bran muffin other than hers, so maybe I am just partial and they are not the same.

Isn’t it funny how material things can transform a moment? A muffin, a song, or even a smell.

Any time Alanis Morrisette comes on the radio, it is once again 1994 and I am a freshman in high school – nervous laugh, fuzzy hair, and all. To narrow songs down to “You Learn” I am in the backseat of my friend’s car trying to get back to normal after a “dam” party so that I can take a Spanish final. I don’t remember how the test turned out. I think I passed. I remember Bart’s mom pulling me out of the room and telling me to take it down a level. Thank God a friend of mine’s mom was our sub that day. Whew!

The smell of Curve reminds me of my little sister who wore it for years. So it also reminds me of the bedroom we shared until I graduated high school. Dark wood paneling, old twin beds and a TV that had enough of an NBC signal to sneak episodes of “Friends.” Mal’s scent has evolved over the last decade, but she still keeps a token bottle on her dresser. Perhaps she too gets transported back in time at the smell.

I spent this weekend doing things that I love, but at each turn I was reminded of my marriage and it made me sad. I went to the giant Farmers Market near the Heights, and picked out vegetables and helped one of my best friends find a pinata. The only other person I had ever been there with was my husband and we used to go all the time. I miss lazy Saturday mornings of haggling with the veggie farmers and exploring their most unusual treats. Then the smells in the air. The sounds of the busy street. The people all around yelling in Spanish and Vietnamese. Could it really have been six years ago?

This weekend I sort of longed for the nostalgia. If you read my post from Saturday you know that I haven’t been doing that great, but I will be better. Weekends like this of remembering and recalling the things that make me happy help. I am slowly rebuilding who I am and deciding the things that I need. I know some day every thing will work together and those, “Song remembers when” moments will grow fewer and farther between. I will build new memories with new people. I will forget the bad times. I will be able to tell my kids about all the fun I had with their dad.

If you are in a place of pain, sometimes what you need to do is wallow in it for a minute, allow it to soak in and hold you immobile for a moment. Except you need to remember to let it go, allow it to fall away and move forward. Let the “songs remember when” so that you know that you don’t have to.


Cold Cup of Coffee

My original goal for the day was to write about the Response…but I am just not feeling it. So, maybe later.

I am struck by the memory muse because a bunch of my friends are posting in new groups on facebook about life back home. The sort of back home you can’t go back to. I have been reading posts all weekend about places that have long since disappeared and been torn down. Memories that you can share with your family and friends but you can’t take them to these places to make new ones.

It has made me think about the fragility of life, of places, of things.

I think I understand why some people become hoarders. It is because for one fleeting moment an item brought them a sense of joy and they don’t want to lose it. They have trouble letting go with the past because outside of themselves and their homes the world is in constant motion.

The only the eternal is this motion.

I commented over the weekend about my seemingly insensitive nature to get rid of things. I am constantly discarding and getting rid of items because I don’t want the clutter. I don’t want to think about where this came from or who gave that because if I sit there and think about it too much I will never get rid of anything.

My small apartment will become a dwelling place for the past and I think too much about the future to be weighed down by trivial things.

To some the items I discard may not be trivial.

But you have to realize in the end that much of what you have is just stuff. Stuff that could be part of the next landfill. So, if you want to think green, give more stuff away. Someone, somewhere may need your old speakers. They may know how to make them work again. Post it on freecycle, craigslist, anywhere there is a swap’n’shop-type website or store.

That being said, you can never go back home again.

In a post several months ago I wrote about my return to my hometown and it felt all wrong. Like a pair of jeans that I out grew.

I drove past the point of the lake that used to contain a resort I helped at for a few years, it was gone.

Bulldozed for progress.

Really, the mansion or property running alongside needed a bigger lawn.

The restaurant I worked at for a year and a half at the end of high school is no longer there either. The barge is, but the people that made the restaurant a tourist attraction are gone.

People are also not a constant.

Friendships end, evolve, explore, and even explode.

Not many of us have had the same friends for the last twenty years. Not many of us have the same family members that we had twenty years ago either. The ideas of the family have evolved in the last twenty years.

We are beyond just step families.

In the last ten years, much of my family has been the close friends that I have depended on for a shoulder to cry on, a hand to help me through the fire, and an ear to listen long into the night. I have needed them and I hoped that I was able to be there for them when they needed me. But many of those are ended also. I still talk to the girls I once worked with and we may know eachothers pains but the closeness we once shared is gone.

A new step in life and people pull away. Like a small thread in a sweater that you pull just a little, but then you make a hole. Eventually you pull enough and you no longer have a sweater.

I am glad that God created us with a memory. A memory that will hopefully function the rest of my days. A memory that will return to all the happy times and will lessen the intensity of the bad times.

A memory that like a cup of coffee is scalding at first, but over time becomes

a cold cup of coffee. Sweet and with the hint of what once was…