November 15, 2006

The home that Mo and Jo built

Perhaps it's the approaching holidays.

Or the fact that my brother and I will soon be letting go of a critical part of our childhoods as we put our family home on the market.

Something's certainly got me reflecting on the home that Mo and Jo built fo us -- the lessons they taught and the traditions they passed on -- the sights, smells and sounds that will forever remind me of home.

The cherry tree in the back yard is long gone, but I remember rushing home from school and quickly changing out of my uniform to climb that tree for the refuge, the view, and during the late spring, the sunsweetened goodness it offered.

The lemon trees in the front yard remain -- and I'll soon be looking for a way to graft them and hang onto that piece of home. It's lemons were critical to summertime 10c lemonade -- and we had no idea that the small sweet-tart fruit with which we worked had a name and would one day be trendy. The neighbor kids have figured it out -- they were selling lemonade this summer for a dollar a dixie cup!

Every Friday and Saturday night was a party -- a handful of friends gathered for family-style dinner and a game of pinocchle or monopoly with dessert. BIG parties featured Great-Aunt Lena's "touthlach" ravioli on Christmas day, Grandmother Kathryn's cinnamon buns with Easter brunch, Henri's "company carrots", Linda's torta di riso and dozens of other plates of goodness from around the globe.

This is a transitional holiday season for me. I'll be baking lemon bars in my kitchen using lemons from the aforementioned trees. Serving the touthlach on it's traditional 50-year-old serving platter to a new set of friends and adopted family on my parents' dining room table with my mother's wedding china in my dining room. The mingling of the past, present and future are palpable for me this year -- and strangely comforting and awkward at the same time. I guess that's a part of the process -- the delicate balance between hanging on and letting go...

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