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Monday, August 22, 2011

Baking Bread and Breaking It

First, because I'm still laboring under the pretense that you might possibly be interested in this photo challenge, pictures from days Three and Four.

Day Three. Prompt: Clouds.

Luckily the Kansas sky was willing to cooperate with my picture-taking agenda. For several days previous we'd had an endless blanket of bright blue. So, thanks for your help, Western Kansas!

Day Four. Prompt: Someone I Love.

Because that husband fellow wasn't cooperating with my photographic needs, I had to turn to a couple of OTHER someones that I love very much!

And today is Day Five. Prompt: Childhood Memories

Well. My childhood is a vast and strange place. A place full of planes that dance through the sky, and giant hulking wrecks that sprout from the ground like rusty weeds. A place where propellers outnumber people roughly 50:1. A place where silence is so revered that Child Bug gets frequently bundled away to another house, a magical place filled with magical people. Old people whose knowledge is boundless, stories mesmerizing, music either twanging and driving like a locomotive or blazing trumpets and howling trombones laced above a harmonic rush of woodwinds and the pushy, playful syncopation of the drums. These old people, endlessly loving, unquestionably supportive, constantly interested in a solitary little girl's ramblings--they are the true heroes of all my best childhood memories. And, because I couldn't take a picture of driving along dirt roads with Grandpa John listening to Johnny Cash, holding hands and imagining that I could see the love flowing from his heart to mine through our intertwined hands--mine so very small and white, his so very big and brown--I turned to my second favorite memory. Baking with my Nannie.

Now, for those of you new to my blog, or perhaps not well acquainted with me, I will tell you now that baking is very, very important to me. It has always been this way. I used to cherish the days when my mother would bake, and I longed to be underfoot when Nannie was kneading dough. I felt a connection, even when I was so young, that I struggle to explain. I could see myself in my mother, in my grandmother, and I pictured their mothers and grandmothers before them--all in a beautiful, flour-covered line that lead right to me. Baking is a thread for me, a life-line to generations past and generations to come. Mostly though, it has become for me the way I honor my grandmother now that she is unable to bake. She is unable to make her own toast now, because she can't remember how.

And so, armed with the memory of standing on a step-stool in Nannie's kitchen, watching her hands disappear into the flour, and emerge sprinkling it like snow on the countertop, and her long fingers pushing into the dough--I began to bake.

Bread. Can you smell it? The house smells like love and flour and butter and happiness. I'll be sharing, don't you worry!


  1. Okay. I'm not generally good at being genuinely complimentary without curbing the mushiness with a healthy dash of sarcasm, but I'm gonna try: That last section about why you love baking was really, truly beautiful, Dowd. Your writing inspires me. Time to get back to my own...again.

  2. Crawls, I didn't see your comment until now. I always love your posts, I hope you keep it up!