Every fall, my mom would make pumpkin bread. Lots and lots of pumpkin bread. We always had a loaf in the fridge, ready for a smear of margarine for a quick snack. I lost count when I tried to make a list of how many of her friends received a mini-loaf of her almost-famous pumpkin bread each year. Many of my childhood friends remember her pumpkin bread…….I always had a few pieces in my lunch at school, or even a whole loaf to share with my friends at the lunch table.
I continued the tradition when I went away to college, making pumpkin bread every fall for my roommates, then making it for my husband, eventually making it for my kids.
Mom was diagnosed with a rare form of dementia (corticobasal ganglionic degeneration…..try saying that 3 times fast!) in 2008, though her symptoms began several years before that. Her handwriting was one of the first signs of change, as it began to look like someone else’s, her brain slowly but surely losing it’s connection to the rest of her body. It wasn’t long before she lost the ability to write anything at all.
Mom passed away in June, 2011. When the weather started turning that fall, my kids began to ask for pumpkin bread, but I could not bring myself to make it. It was just too hard to gaze at the recipe card, the one filled with her distinctive cursive, the one with her name written clearly at the top.
I thought I would try in the fall of 2012, but again, I wasn’t ready. A sweet friend offered to make it for me, but I didn’t even feel ready to eat it. Fall moved into winter, and winter into spring.
And now it’s Mother’s Day 2013, and early last week I found myself ready to make pumpkin bread. I had expected to be sad and crying while following the receipe, but instead I felt very calm and peaceful, making something that I had made so many times before, thinking about my mom, what a great mom and friend she was, how much she enjoyed baking for her family and friends, how she had passed on this tradition to her children, and I would be passing it along to mine.
I shared the first piece with Reese…..she said, “Mom….this is so good!”
Yep, everything about it is good.
“Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”