At 11pm, the grocery store is blissfully quiet, but not empty. I find my items: bacon, milk, laundry detergent, and two kinds of bread–healthy whole wheat and soft and delicious Martin’s potato bread.
At home everyone is asleep, or almost, and I set to work mashing the eggs I boiled the other day. The yolks are ringed with green, which I learn is from boiling them too long.
After I turned the stove off I set the timer for 20 minutes but then got distracted and abandoned the eggs for some other activity.
I mix in the mayonnaise and sprinkle salt and it’s all an odd shade of yellow green, but I don’t care. On the potato bread it tastes perfect.
I think about everyone who has made egg salad for me, and deviled eggs, and chicken salad, and meatloaf, and slaw with freshly grated cabbage and carrots, and macaroni and cheese, and birthday cakes and even a birthday cake for my imaginary friend. I think about my mom and FG and Nana and all the butter and mayonnaise and love.
At the store I saw Christmas Crunch–an absurdly unnecessary seasonal variety of Cap’n Crunch. I so wanted to buy a box but I didn’t. I thought about how Nana bought me a box of Crunchberries every time I would visit, even though it was totally out of keeping with every other food in her kitchen.
Her scrambled eggs and bacon will always be my favorite breakfast but the Crunchberries were so thrilling.
After I finish my sandwich I rinse my dishes and run the dishwasher. I switch the laundry. I pick through the enormous pile of clothes on the floor, the remnants of what’s left from the week our washer broke, before we had a new one delivered.
I remember Nana scrubbing clothes in a plastic tub in the kitchen sink with Ivory soap and hanging them on the clothesline in the yard to dry, the clothespins in the pocket of her apron.
I remember drying dishes with threadbare dish towels and putting them away while Nana or Aunt Millie or Uncle George washed and whistled or hummed old hymns. There was a dishwasher in the house but no one used it. There were never, ever piles of dirty dishes left in the sink or in the counter.
If you sneaked into the kitchen late at night for ice cream or pie your dish and spoon would be conspicuous.
As I fold clothes and listen to the dryer spin i look around at my messy life and wonder what Nana would think. What I wish is that I could make her an egg salad sandwich, pour her a glass of sweet tea, serve her a piece of pound cake and hold her hand while we blessed the food.