Hand-Me-Downs

Hand-me-downs vary in families. The best hand-me-downs I personally have are two of my mom’s recipe books.  I also have some old family photos which are very wonderful representations of the early 1900’s and family. But, honestly, the recipe books are more special. In one of the books are some yellowed handwritten recipe cards. I’d recognize her handwriting anywhere. She’d always swirl her hand above the paper to get into the “rhythm” of writing before the pen touched the paper. She said that’s how they were all taught to write. Mercy–cursive isn’t even taught in most schools anymore. It’s becoming a lost skill, with most things done on electronics with a keyboard. (whoa–that makes me sound old!!!) There are also newspaper clippings, golden with age, taped in that book. The tape is an even more vivid yellow-orange and curls a bit, the stickiness of it having dried out a long time ago.

The other cookbook I have was her favorite: The American Woman Cook Book, published in 1942.  I can’t remember who she said gave it to her, but it was a big deal, getting it around her second anniversary with my dad. The binding has come apart a bit, the edges of the cover are frayed. There are little spatters on the pages of the favored recipes. The very best part isn’t a recipe, though.  It’s her collection of four-leaf clovers.  She could spot one quick as a wink.  She’d make this tiny squeal and would swoop down to pluck it off the plant, with a beautiful smile filled with delight. And she’d say something about “the luck of the Irish.” It always astounded me. My mom, who wasn’t exactly proud of being half Irish, would find something that unequivocally represented her heritage. Four leaf clover represent a Celtic charm, (spell,) and were thought to provide magical protection, warding off bad luck. As a young girl, I bought her a special magnet with a four leaf clover hermetically sealed in resin. That magnet now has a special spot on my refrigerator door. In my early teens, she bought me a clover charm for my charm bracelet; a tiny four-leaf clover in a sphere. Sadly, it cracked and we had to discard it. I never thought until just now how clover, my mom, and I have a special connection. Funny thing is that I never can find one with four leaves in a patch of clover. Wonder how she did it…

There are nine four-leaf clovers on that first page of the table of contents. I wish I knew when she started collecting them in there. I never thought to ask. I remember them being there when I was little, so it’s been a while. They’re all a bit faded, but still definitely green.  I feel her love the second I open the book to look at them, which I do whenever I miss my mama. Pretty wonderful hand-me-down, eh? Remember to make your moments matter. They can become a hand-me-down without us even realizing it…

2014-09-11 Mom's 4 leaf clover 001

With warm wishes on your journey,
Nance