It may seem a bit premature, but we have started dividing up Mom’s things. She no longer needs a cabinet full of Tupperware containers, because she no longer lives in her house or cooks and puts away leftovers.
In one kitchen cabinet, the cast-iron pot sits like a lonely sentinel of Sunday dinners past. Every Sunday morning, Mom put a roast in that pot. It sizzled and brewed in its own juices while we learned about God at the worship service.
When we came home, Mom took the roast out. It was magically perfect every time. She had no clue that someday Alzheimer’s would rob her of the ability to cook.
When I thought of Mom’s cast-iron pot and how it might be destined for a garage sale, I asked my sister if I could have it. It’s amazing how a kitchen item evokes so many memories. Our family sitting around the table, discussing the sermon or the music from that Sunday’s worship time.
“Wasn’t that offertory by the organist amazing?”
“I loved that choir song at the end. Marilyn hit that last note perfectly. Was it a high C?”
“What exactly did the pastor mean about free will? I don’t get that.”
Dad would explain while Mom nodded in approval. We all added to the discussion, passed the roast beef around once more and made sure the gravy lasted for the final helping of potatoes and carrots. Cherry jello melted next to the hot veggies.
After dinner, we all helped clean up. Mom, my sister and I worked on the dishes and any leftovers, hiding them in those same Tupperware containers that Mom no longer needs. My brother and my dad pushed the chairs back under the table, then settled themselves in the living room with pieces of the Sunday paper. The sounds of a football game’s broadcast echoed throughout the house.
Back in my home, I lift the cast-iron pot to my face and try to smell the pot roast. But it has been many years since it held the meat from cattle my dad fed, then butchered so his family could eat.
The smell is gone, but the soul ties to memory live on. I slide the cast-iron pot into my own cabinet, wondering if I will use it – probably never put a pot roast in it as I rarely eat beef any more. Maybe I’ll try a chicken, season it with rosemary and lay tiny shallots around the perimeter.
Will my son remember our meals together with such fondness? Will he someday hold my pots and pans and treasure special meals? I doubt it. We have such different schedules, we eat together only once a week, our Sunday ritual that is usually take-out.
Is this cast-iron pot another remnant of a generation gone that spent quality and quantity time together? The soul of my mother’s preparations, of the farmhouse kitchen, cold winters and abundant harvests ̶ the joy of being family. I miss that piece of cultural history.
Mom’s cast-iron pot is now my treasure. Maybe I’ll take it out of the cabinet and place it where I can see it often, to remind me of the love of family and the importance of every day.
©2014 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1
I loved this, Rebecca! Makes me want to run home and prepare a roast! I am trying to think of something special you could do with your mom’s cast iron pot…..
Thanks, Carie. I keep thinking I should plant flowers in it, but then – I may still want to cook something in it.
Beautiful memories. My mom wasn’t a good cook so none of her cookware held any memories. However, a few years ago I went through my own cupboards and was going to donate a ceramic casserole dish I had used for scallops potatoes for our “special” meals. The kids were grown and gone, and the dish was heavy. My daughter asked to have it. She doesn’t use it either, but it sits in her cabinet. I guess it holds special memories for her too. Thanks for the reminder.
How wonderful, Nita – that your daughter has the ceramic casserole dish. You made some special memories.
Rebecca – you perfectly captured memories of Sunday dinners and mom pulling the roast from the oven. Beautiful.
Thanks, Suzan. Yes – can’t you just smell that pot roast?
Rebecca, thanks for the memories. This reminded me of my mother’s pot she used every Sunday with a roast, potatoes and carrots. It was passed on to another family member. Oh, the memories of coming home from church to the aroma of a roast in the same pot each week. Carol Blair
Yep – I can still smell that pot roast and when I do, it feels like Sunday again.
The funniest things bring memories to the surface. Just finished Intermission…you weave such a beautiful story. Her fears and joys echo in my heart. Thank you for sharing the Reverend with the world!
Thank you, Angela! So glad you enjoyed the book. May your memories of this Easter season be especially sweet.
Rebecca, This is a great story. Roast was also the standard meal in our home for Sunday dinner. Mom always added carrots, potatoes and cabbage. It is still one of my favorite meals, but we don’t have it often. We usually opt for chicken or turkey rather than beef.
Thanks, Martha. The old pot roast must have been the staple during that time period. Lots of my readers have commented they remember the roasting pan.