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December 26, 2012 - Jen Zbozny
My beloved maternal grandmother (we called her Nan) had a set of dented aluminum measuring spoons. They lived together, happily nestled one inside the other. attached to a metal ring, in her miraculously tidy utensil drawer in her wonderful 1930's kitchen. My paternal grandmother (Elvis Grandma) had a similar set. Hers were less dented but had a very satisfying tinny kind of clank and rattle to them when you produced them from the jumble which was her kitchen drawer. My mother had a sort of coppery colored set, but half of them were missing and they'd lost their ring. You had to dig in the right hand cabinet drawer, being careful as the drawer back sometimes popped off and gushed spoons and whatnot into the towel tower below.
Each of those sets are clear in my mind. Some of their handles had developed a burnished patina from those loving fingers and thumbs. Extraordinary things came about from those measuring sets. Small babies learned about the satisfying nature of making noises by banging them about their high chairs. Hilarious weird biscuit type things appeared once instead of sugar cookies because someone forgot to add baking soda (and sugar) to the cookies. My brother remembered learning to measure with them.
This Christmas season, we spent a great deal of time with my own set of spoons. They're a lovely stainless steel set on a ring. They have a perfect weight to them and are just the right size for scooping or banging or clink-clinking. They were a wedding gift from my mother. I think about it every time I use them, but this season, the season of giving, I've found them even more remarkable. They've taught me a lesson about gifts. My mother could have given me any of a number of wedding gifts and she did. She taught me to love and to mother, she taught me to laugh at myself and to pray. She taught me to be strong and have hope and to check my spelling. And she gave me spoons. I was amused by it years ago as a young bride. It was a practical, well-made gift.
Years later I realize she gave me a gift of a lifetime of kitchen memories for my daughter who will someday tell the same measuring spoon stories about my spoons as I tell about my mother's and grandmothers'. She'll remember my hands and the rings on my spindly fingers. She'll remember the funny songs I made up about waffles and how we sometimes put candy cane chunks into the chocolate chip cookies. Sadly, my mom passed away years ago. She never met Eve, but somehow my mother had presence of mind about such things. Somehow she knew what the spoons could do.
Watching Eve and my family enjoy the wonders of Christmas filled my heart with joy. I can live on this memory and feeling for years. It's my great hope, that somewhere, in some of these gifts, there's one that will be for them what my measuring spoons are for me. Thanks Mom, and Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you all got measuring spoon gifts too.
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