We are in the kitchen, small, compact, neat as a pin. My mother and I sit at the little round table and my mom jokes with my grandmother. “Her cherry pie tastes just like the ones at McDonald’s,” She tells me with a wink of her eye.
My grandmother places the steaming pie on the counter and sets down the hot pads. Hand on hip, she casts my mother a stern look, “It certainly does not!” But there is a twinkle in her eye, they are just teasing. The cherries from this pie were picked from the tree in her yard, we sat that morning at bowls with knives and special tools designed to remove pits.
My grandmother, tiny and strong, wielded a heavy rolling pin to roll, roll, roll out the pie dough. The cherries, sugar, that pie crust. A family favorite, to be served that night after a communal family dinner, cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters.
It is so familiar in my grandmother’s kitchen, busy, yet cozy. Laughter, lively conversation. Dishes clatter in the sink, the sound of a whisk in a bowl. We were welcome, my grandmother seemed to like working with kids underfoot. And we liked that kitchen.
New Mexico days were hot, “It is 106 degrees today,” my dad would recite the temperature aloud as it incrementally increased. We liked that kitchen on those hot days, it was in the back of the house, away from the sun, and the floor was cool under our bare feet. There was an endless supply of green Kool-aide ice-cold from the fridge.
Eventually our New Mexico cousins lure us outside, into the heat and into adventures, but we know the cool and the comfort of that kitchen is there. In my minds eye it will always be there.