In my grandmothers kitchen there is a bowl. It is a greenish blue color, faded in time. The bowl has been in her kitchen as long as my mother can remember. The bowl is famous. Relatives and friends come to see the bowl. They talk about the bowl as if it has it has mystical powers separate from the woman who uses it.
While bowls can serve many purposes, this one is dedicated to making biscuits. It sits on up on the shelf in a much too small kitchen with a old white cheese cloth draped over it. It waits patiently in the cabinet to be used by my grandmother.
After waking and saying her daily prayers, my grandmother will walk into the tiny kitchen and remove the bowl from it's alter. She places it on the table and begins to gather the necessary ingredients. Removing the cheese cloth reveals a small pile of silk white flour. She takes her arthritic hands and gently press her fist into the flour creating a hole. She pours the butter milk and then scoops the Crisco. There are no measuring cups, just simply the feel of the materials in her hands. She begins to pull the flour from the sides of the bowl, gently kneading until a perfectly small ball forms. She plops the dough ball onto the table and begins to press it out with her hands. Her hands know the right size to make the dough. She will then take a small glass juice cup and press it in the flour, creating the perfect number of biscuits.
When I was young and we would go to visit, I would wake up early to watch her. Amazed in her ability to do this without thought or a plan. My mother would always have her cookbooks and measuring utensils spread throughout the kitchen. When I was old enough, Grandma would talk me through it. I never really wanted to learn to make the biscuits, the finished product wasn't what fascinated me. It was the process. It was the ease in which she did it.
For the past four years the biscuit bowl has sat empty and unused. Grandmother has been in an assisted living facility. I wonder if she thinks of the bowl. If her hands, if they were able, could once again work magic in the bowl.
On Tuesday night, Grandma went home to be with the Lord. She was 95. I wonder if she will make biscuits in heaven. The bowl will be mine. The story will be hers. I look forward to putting the bowl on my shelf, having it sit quietly in her honor. Maybe my daughter will one day watch me make biscuits in the bowl. Of course, I will have my cookbooks and utensils thrown around the kitchen. Until then, I just have to believe that there is a magic in the bowl that seasons the memories of our minds.