Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Unearthing the Treasure

When I got the box from the dark cupboard at Mom’s house, it wouldn’t open. I shook it and jiggled it and pulled. Hard. I brought it home where it stubbornly continued not to budge. Sean headed toward the garage for some tools. “Looks like we’ll have to pry it open.”

“No!” If there was any way to avoid it, no harm would come to the box. “Maybe we can try to shimmy something along the edge and see what’s making it stick,” I suggested, hoping he’d have the perfect tool for loosening the drawer without injuring the box. He grabbed a piece of paper, folded it in 4ths lengthwise and slid it between the edges of the drawer and its sleeve. That flimsy piece of paper must have caught something on the box just right because when I tried again, the drawer slid right out.

Lenora wanted to join me as I opened my treasure trove so we went out to the sunny back patio to enjoy one of the first lovely days of spring while we explored the contents of the pink box. The recipe for Rhubarb Cake rested at the front of the row of cards, probably due to the many times I’ve asked Mom for it. Behind it cards were filed into categories such as “beverages” and “desserts.” I pulled cards randomly from the row, careful to hold the place so I could properly return it when I finished soaking up the memories.

Of the cards I looked at (only a small fraction of the cards contained in the box), all brought a vivid memory or feeling to mind. Some made me pause as I read the “From the kitchen of . . .” heading, remembering women of the Ladies Aid Society serving potluck luncheons. Lenora wanted to know who everyone was. I told her the stories needed to be held for later; it was overwhelming.   

On many I saw handwriting I could identify before noting the name on the recipe. “How do you know who it is just by the writing?” she asked. One card was written by my older sister (M) in the handwriting of a young girl. Another was an email, printed by the same sister.

The recipes written on the cards also caused me to pause. One of the first cards I randomly pulled was the one for “Frangos,” the delightful chocolate treat pulled from the freezer and in the foil cupcake wrappers. Another was “Sloppy Joes,” a staple of my childhood. I also found the recipe for stroganoff. I hated that! So much that I’d refuse to eat it and forgo the dessert that was sure to be delicious.

With some difficulty I set the box aside after viewing only a few of the cards. I want to savor the deliciousness of rediscovering each of these recipes and the cards on which they appear.

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