more goodbyes

I had a killer migraine yesterday that ruined me from the middle of the afternoon until about eleven this morning, and Myron didn’t think it was the best idea for me to head out today. But it warmed up and the winds died down. It’s -8C/18F and I needed some fresh air, so out of the house I went.

It’s snowing, just a bit here and there. I gathered up my things and pulled on everything—gigantic coat, scarf, gloves, red fleece-lined shoes with aftermarket ice-trax grippy things on the bottom. While I waited for the bus, I saw singular snowflakes landing on the olive green of my coat. This is something I don’t remember noticing before I moved here—real, honest-to-goodness six-sided snowflakes that look like they were cut out of God’s own construction paper. They don’t happen all the time. It takes just the right measure of humidity and precipitation rate and other magics. But when they do happen, I almost always have to swear because I’ve never caught one on camera. I hope I will, for you, before the seasons change.

My mother’s handmixer is the one I took with me when I moved out. I bought her a fresh new one back in ‘92 or so, and I took her old one with me. I can’t tell for sure, but it may have been a wedding present. What do you say—does it look like it came from 1972 or what?


It makes a terrible portent-of-doom smell when it does deign to work, which is a rare day. So today I replaced it with a brand-new one that comes with whisk and dough hook attachments and is stainless-steel sexy and will probably last about a tenth of the tenure of my old mixer. I hate letting go of any piece of my mother, but this one especially so. I’ve taken it with me everywhere, in all the households I’ve set up from college apartments to reservation teacher housing to the frozen north. It weighs a ton. It talks to me about times when goldenrod appliances were The Thing, when my mother mixed up just-because cakes or instant pudding. It talks about days when it was just my mother and dad, before I even came along. It’s cracked and doesn’t work and takes up space, and its time has come. But before I let it go, I wanted to show it to you, to sing it a little love song. It lasted longer than a perfect snowflake, but it’s made of the same magic.