The Dual Joy of Song and Baking
Mom stood at the kitchen counter with her sleeves rolled up. Soft, white flour spilled here and there while she worked a ball of dough in a large bowl. I remember it was a gray, cold day but I was inside “baking” with my Mom, basking in the glow of her undivided attention. My three siblings were blissfully absent. Dad off doing whatever fathers did. It was just Mom and I making her annual pre-Christmas shortbread cookies that were apparently better if said cookies had time to age before we devoured them with large cups of milky tea. I was in heaven. I recall she was in a playful mood that day and as she worked the dough she turned to me and started to sing “Momma’s little baby loves shortnin – shortnin, Momma’s little baby loves shortnin bread!” Her legs pumped up and down with the beat, her hips swayed as she charged on “Call on the doctor! The doctor said, give that baby some shortnin bread!”
It was a rare moment that sticks in my memory like a beacon. The youngest of four, there was little one on one time with my Mom especially not singing and baking. But there I was held in the glow of my mother’s task and my four year old stature lifted with song and story. We stood in our newly renovated kitchen that was a brilliant combination of the usual mod cons along with my mother’s required old world practicality. Mom had worked with the kitchen designer and requested a large cooler cupboard off the end of the kitchen that vented to the outdoors – a common feature in most kitchens before refrigeration. As well, Mom had a small top loading wood stove installed next to the brand new oven. The baking counter had a huge bin that could hold several 20 pound sacks of flour to fuel Mom’s daily bread making. She was an industry. My siblings and I were the weird (aka lucky) kids at school that ate sandwiches with home baked bread.
So now I sing in the local community choir immersing myself in the joys of song. I have my own beautifully renovated kitchen in which I adore spending time creating edible love. But I see this is not an accident. Where I find my calm, my joy was forged so many years ago in the radiance of my Mom’s industrious creativity.
Mom turns 87 years old today and is still an industry of baking, cooking, and mountains of knitting (allegedly for babies that are not yet even a twinkle in anyone’s eyes), all the while attending the local chair yoga classes, the weekly senior’s social lunches and talks, and as always is a staunch supporter of any of her local Hornby Island community endeavours.
Happy Birthday dear Mom. You are amazing.