Friday, February 17, 2012


Northern New Mexican style, my home sits deep in the evergreen foothills of the East Mountains. The juniper trees (bushes, as those out-of-staters like to demean them) and tumble weeds and little Indian Paintbrushes are about all that naturally grows in my corner of the desert—except for rock, of which there is an abundance. From the driveway to the house there is a concrete sidewalk lined with aspen trees and moss rock—native herbs and flowering bushes bloom. Not only are the terracotta stucco and white trim a classic look for the Southwest, but also our wraparound porch is lined by the typical evenly spaced wooden posts. Below the high-pitched metal roof, five vertical double-hung windows catch the morning sun. Breath-taking, the view is extraordinary; the Rocky Mountains punctuate the spacious western sky. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

flooded with memories

Phone call. Explanation. Dad (saying he would met up with us in a day or so) had flown to Lubbock and we continued with plans to Phoenix. Uncle Buster and Aunt Judy had tried a bit of everything to distract our distraught thoughts. We went to Target Great-land; we ate at Organ Stop Pizza; we attended Major League baseball try-outs. I was helplessly worried (you know how it is to have annoying song lyrics on your mind—like that, except these thoughts of hearts and doctors and death didn’t have a catchy tune). Phone call. Mom’s voice was trembling—my eyes spilled over with burning tears; my Spring Break was devastated. I had no words. My fearful dreams were coming true. When had I last seen him? Had I remembered a departing kiss? Why did I have to be stuck in the middle of a desert when Grandpa was dying? Burning my arm through the glass, the 5 o’clock sun still shone into the back seat but could not dry up my salty crying. Nothing could. It was March Madness, and I didn’t care. Dad arrived, told us the details, and my vacation ended: flooded with memories.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

When the timer on the oven beeps, when she can’t stand keeping the loaves locked behind the windowed door any longer, when the bread is perfectly golden brown, it’s time to pull out the serrated knife and soften a stick of butter. Seven-grain bread—the kind right out of Mama’s oven—cannot be beat. The warm and wheat-y aroma swirls through the air, filling it with a scent of my mother’s love. Slathered with smooth, sweet, and salted butter, the steaming slices of bread disappear as fast as Mama can cut them. Like trying to eat just one Cheeto, there is no way I can stop with just one piece of this yeasty goodness.  My sister adds honey, my brothers add jam, I don’t add anything—this bread, slightly drippy with a bit of toasted crunch, can stand on it’s own two feet.