Friday, October 2, 2020

The Story of a Spoon

Sunday morning I decided to make biscuits and gravy. I mixed up the biscuits and put them in the oven and started  making the gravy. I melted some shortening and began to mix in the flour with a large serving spoon. Soon the consistency was just right and I reached for the milk.


As I lifted the spoon to get it out of the way, and noticed something odd—part of the spoon was missing. Little slivers of plastic was strewn throughout the roux.


“Well, I never had that happen before,” I said to my husband.


“Must have been a cheap spoon,” he said.


Yes, it was a cheap spoon. Several years ago, my cousin brought a bag full of “cheap” serving spoons to a family reunion. “People are always forgetting serving spoons,” she said, “so I brought these spoons. We can just throw them away, or people can take them  home.” I put one in my green rice and usually kept it with the crock-pot. For some reason, this cheap spoon mingled with my good spoons, and on this day ruined my gravy

The timer for the biscuits dinged as I was throwing away the mess that never quite made it to gravy and the spoon that would never be useful again.


As often happens, my mind completely shifted gears. I thought of  how easily a person could be forever changed and as broken and ruined as that spoon. When you think of all the things that can happen to break a body or a soul, it may be a miracle that so many of us are still intact.


And I couldn’t help but think of how a human brain can be forever changed by the plaques and tangles of Alzheimer’s disease, just like the slivers of plastic in my pan only on a microscopic level. The debris in a human brain can interfere with the ability to remember.


It is hard to understand why a disease can  chip away at  skills, abilities, and talents learned over a lifetime. Memories vanish and leave only etchings behind to frustrate and niggle at the corners of  awareness causing a sense of loss. Jim often said, “Right here, but I can’t find it.”


If the debris in the skillet represents the person with Alzheimer’s, the spoon is the caregiver. Little pieces of life’s fabric is torn away, little by little. Day to day, week to week, month to month, year after year, a caregiver goes through a series of meltdowns as she adapts, regroups, and presses onward through different stages of the disease.


I dumped the mess into the trash, grabbed an oven mitt, and pulled the biscuits from the oven. They looked and smelled wonderful. I quickly stirred up a batch of gravy using the whisk I should have used in the first place.


The entire breakfast saga reminded me that life goes on. Sometimes, we have to re-set. If we put the past behind us and face each day with faith that everything is going to be all right, we can move forward.


In the end, breakfast was about as good as it gets. Ditto for life.


Copyright © October 2020 by L.S. Fisher


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