early kitchen morning and memory

There's a story here. Which one should I tell? Just a few choices:

1. How long it took me to gather all the ingredients this year, to dig up the jars from their basement banishment and wash them, and then how the actual making was (I always forget) a snap. An "inside" story, perhaps of lethargy or procrastination, or is it a wee bit of depression? Nah, it's something else... I could investigate.
2. Making Christmas in my new hometown of Atlanta, segueing into how much delight I'm finding in this holiday season, the first one in several years that I have enjoyed for just-itself, or as I wrote a friend this week, the first holiday in years that I have not been a) destitute, b) traveling, c) on deadline, or d) having my annual nervous breakdown. Nah... too wide. I want to focus on the granola.

Let me strive for one clear moment in time. I'll take a lesson from what I teach. Take one moment, beginning-middle-end. Write short. Use telling detail. Use your senses. Your feelings. Show us that moment in lovely (terrible, excruciating, hilarious, comforting, angry, amazing) bas relief. Let us live it with you. So. Try again. Why is this moment important to me?

3. The first time I made this granola, I made it with my son, Zach. He was almost three. The recipe has the date written on it: December 1984. I took it from an old Rodale cookbook that was falling apart by the time I moved to Atlanta, so I cut the recipe out of the cookbook and pasted it into the front of American Wholefoods Cuisine by Nikki and David Goldbeck.
But wait... I'm straying. I can add this in later if I want to, for texture and reference, when I revise.

I'm on to something. Let me grab my notebook. Scribble: making this granola with three-year-old Zach who is now almost 28. The way the day was so foggy and cold and damp, but inside the fire crackled and the young enthusiastic son stirred and tasted, stirred and tasted, standing on a chair at the table, wearing one of my aprons hiked up under his armpits, an enormous pot and a fat wooden spoon his companions, how he asked a million questions, how he wanted to gift the world with this granola, and how I learned he needed a funnel to fill the jars; how I wrote the recipe on homemade recipe cards, how he punched a hole in the corner of each, and how we, together, tied the recipe to the jar with a length of red yarn.

What else? How his eyes shined with his accomplishment. How we sang "Jingle Bells" as we worked. How he signed each card in green crayon with a crooked Z. How he said, like it was the most natural thing in the world to expect, "Let's do this again tomorrow." How flat-out happy I was... how young I was.

Yeah, let me write about that. Let's see: what happened first? I want a good lead. And what happened next? Let me capture this moment in time; let me preserve it forever.
This is how it begins.


  1. Even in a blog post you are poignant. Geez I love your writing.

  2. Thanks, Katie. What a lovely thing to say. I love hearing from you here. It's all story, isn't it?


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