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From a Farmhouse Kitchen - Jo-Ann Reed

From a Farmhouse Kitchen

The first thing I noticed was a patch of red.
Faded now,
but once as bright as a ripe, shiny Macintosh.
Gently, I coaxed it out from under the folded linen napkins.
Hidden for years. Thirty-three years.
Thirty-three years since my grandfather died
and my grandmother hung up her best
Sunday apron.

“Could I have this?” I asked my aunt, as we stood side-by-side in the attic of the long-vacant homestead.
“My mother’s tablecloth? Why would you want this old thing?”
I offered something about collecting old fabric...1940 fabric...feed sack fabric.
“OK,” she said.
“You can have it if you want it, but it’s just an old tablecloth.”

Just an old tablecloth? Not to me.
It’s a musty cotton memento of salt pork and gravy.
New potatoes.
Apple Pan Dowdy and white cake “from scratch.”
It’s a tumbler of water from the spring up the hill, and it’s my grandfather sitting in the old wooden chair, laughing at all the latest jokes from Summer Street School.
It’s my sister teasing to ride the horses after dinner, and it’s my brother begging to go out to the barn to jump in the loose crackly hay.

Just an old tablecloth?
Hardly.
It’s the ride from St. Johnsbury to West Burke.
Eighteen miles, almost every single Sunday with Mom.
An excursion.
A trip we might take on a Saturday,
but never on a Thursday.

It’s itchy snow pants and handmade hats
coasting over crystallized crust
on cut-up cardboard boxes.
It’s wet, woolen mittens sizzling on the
wood stove.
It’s the first song my grandmother ever taught me.
Mares-eat-oats and does-eat-oats and
little-lambs-eat-ivy...

Just an old tablecloth? Not to me.
It’s a homespun recollection of memories
in patchwork.

Good As Bread - Donna Panaccione Otto

Flour, water, salt, sugar, yeast
a few ingredients
mixed, kneaded, molded
sensory satisfaction
a well risen dough
hot oven
magic begins
smell of baking bread
rich invitation
aroma spreads
essence of comfort
open oven
heat on face
perfect loaves revealed
crusty top
tender within
butter ready or
olive oil dip
minced garlic, basil, oregano
slices of fragrant cheese
olives, black and green
grapes, red
firm, sweet
uncork the Merlot
a feast for a queen
as good as bread

A poem - Deborah Kuprunas

Slowing down my process of gather and cook became like a production of an Opera.

Observation. Listening. Appreciation.
Prelude. First Act. Intermission. Second Act.
Finale. Curtain Call. Fin.