Shouts are still emanating from the playground - the type that suggest a game of tag has broken out. It has been that sort of day. A much celebrated warm thaw. The neighborhood gave thanks in the only way we know how, by trickling out in pairs or trios all day long - venturing out to the playground or creating bases on the lawn. Or, staying in to make yeast rolls. Ahem.
I know, I know. The thermometer read eighty degrees for crying out loud. Everything about the day screamed strawberries and crisp salads and pink lemonade. But, somehow, we found ourselves mid-afternoon at the center island wrist-high in dough. And, somehow, it felt right.
It began simply enough. I was going to make risotto. I wanted some bread that could be used in lieu of spoons (you know, in case one should decide to ditch the silverware and get scrappy with one's food). Running to the store was not on my agenda. Running through the indexes of my favorite food blogs - that I could do. I found this recipe. We had everything on hand. While pounding out dough wasn't something I had planned for the day, the hour and a half wait for dough to rise sounded like the perfect excuse for an outside recess to me.
We rolled up our sleeves, manned our aprons, and opened some windows. Audrey mixed ingredients with gusto until she noticed dishes in the sink and decided to "wash" them. While she washed, I found myself kneading dough alone at the counter. Somewhere chimes were ringing. A breeze was blowing. All sounds were those of the outdoors. We could have been anywhere - my grandmother's kitchen that smelled of yeast rolls or cinnamon rolls or some such handiwork of the day.
Audrey washed and I kneaded and thought of my grandmother who once told me, "I know my grandchildren." And, she did. All seven of us. She could tell you our likes and dislikes, our talents and our trials. I visited her shortly before Jason and I married. I don't remember if we were already engaged at this point or if I simply knew we would be. I told her she had met him once. As I spoke, she pulled out a photo album. She turned the pages. She pointed to a picture. There we were as high school seniors, Jason and I sitting on a boat dock in my grandmother's photo album as if the picture had been taken for just this moment in her living room.
As I pressed dough firmly against my palms, working it into a malleable ball, I couldn't help but linger on her memory. She had a gift for things that took time: baking bread, bird-watching, threading a needle, learning the people she loved. Today as the breeze shushed us, the distant chimes soothed us, and Audrey calmly and quietly poured water from one cup to another, (with me rhythmically kneading) my kitchen felt like that.