I stood over the stove last night with my back to the kitchen door. Bacon was cooking in the oven and I was flipping pancakes for dinner. No preparation of a pancake meal is complete for me without thoughts of my parent's lifelong skirmish involving the humble flapjack.
In my mind's eye I could see my mother standing over the stove, flipping pancakes for dinner. I remember my dad sitting at the table, waiting. She would take him a plate only to hear these words, or something like them, a few minutes later. "These don't taste like my mother's. They're too thick and too big. My mother always made us silver dollar pancakes. They would melt in your mouth. . ." Mostly he was joking but there was truth below the smiles.
One day, she could take it no more. Only half kidding she said, "If you want your mother's pancakes, go to your mother's house. I'm done making you pancakes." And she quit. We didn't have pancakes for years. . .
Thinking about family stories and feeling incredibly grateful that Ali loves my pancakes, I was lost in thought when she burst into the kitchen, singing a Hank Williams song at the top of her lungs –
Hey, hey, good lookin',
Whatcha got cookin'?
How's about cookin' somethin' up with me?
Hey, sweet baby,
Don't you think maybe
We could find us a brand new recipe?
Hot tears immediately pricked my eyes and I struggled to hold them back. She was laughing and dancing in the middle of the kitchen and my tears would only have confused her. How could she have known that I'd heard my dad singing that song at least a hundred times to my mom, trying to get her to dance with him in the kitchen?
I turned around to smile and laugh with my partner – her silly dancing, her desire to make me laugh – and in that moment I realized that our ability to make new memories is such an amazingly precious gift.
The weepy feeling quickly disappeared as I joined in and picked up the second verse, laughing and dancing around with a plate of pancakes for my girl.
I'm free and ready,
So we can go steady.
How's about savin' all your time for me?
No more lookin',
I know I've been "tooken."
How's about keepin' steady company?