To Susan

Mother’s Day and snow is falling on the Front Range, after six days of rain.  The world is wet and cold.  Still a robin woke me at 430 this morning with its frantic good-morning song.  The day feels bleak and strange and a little empty without my own mom, who has been gone for four months.  For so many years while she was sick, she was the weight I carried.  Now, her absence is an equally definable something in my days.
Of course she is on my mind and in the food I’m eating too.  Yesterday, I had a craving for mom’s famous baked clam sandwiches, a mixture of canned minced clams, cheddar, and mayo baked until gooey inside foil-wrapped hoagies.  It seemed just the thing to eat on a soggy day, along with way too salty Lays potato chips, onion dip, and iced Pepsi.  All things my mother loved.   
I rarely eat beige food—bread and chips and dairy—at all, let alone in such quantities.  But by now, I knew the ghost of my mother was gasping audibly with pleasure—“Ah!—the same way she would whenI brought her cupcakes.  Back at home, I quickly sautéed the onion until brown in scandalous amounts of sweet cream butter and let it cool while I assembled the sandwiches.  While they baked in a 400 degree oven, I mixed the cooled onions and butter with sour cream and Worcester. 


The Thing Itself

Greg and I toasted with the Pepsi, the very last thing I fed to my mother as she was dying.  “To Susan,” I said, as I bit into the satisfyingly crunch and cheese of the sandwich.


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