This is very meandery, fair warning!
I was twenty the first time I ever saw anyone bake bread. Newly married, we were taking a trip cross country to see my mother in New Jersey. Along the way we picked up a young man or old boy, hitchhiking home to Pennsylvania. It wasn't far out of our way and I was glad to get off the highways. His family lived in the country in a big old farm house, and it was perfect. The perfect family, it seemed to me, warm and welcoming and hugely interesting, they offered us a time out, their company, and a bed for the night.
We took a tour of their home and their land. The kitchen herb garden was right outside the perfectly placed back kitchen door, herbs bountifully spilling over terraced rocks, looking like they had always been there, just a few steps away from a fine old farm kitchen, wood stove included. The kitchen itself had beamed ceilings, with stone walls and old glass paned cupboards all painted white, with lots of windows keeping it full of sunshine for most of the day. Down the center was a long heavy farm table, the sort you see and wish you had.
|It sort of felt like this but 100 x's better... (credit: unknown)|
In the morning, I woke at dawn, on the other side of the sun rising, watching the world take shape out of the darkness. The air was full of an incredible aroma, and even to my unaccustomed nose, I knew it was the smell of freshly baked bread. Down in the kitchen, the daughter had the table covered with loaves and loaves of beautiful bread. It was market day and she went weekly with her breads to sell, along with honey from their bees and herbs and flowers from their gardens. Not garden beds, but fat scatterings of wildflowers that meandered along the edges of the yard. It makes me sigh just to think about it...
With a loaf given to us and continued thanks for bringing their son home, all the way home safely (I'd understand that more when I had a wandering son of my own), we drove on to the very different world of my own mother. That was almost 40 years ago and I can still smell that bread, still see that bread and know, with no remorse, that I'll never bake bread like that in my life.
But when the bread is baking, as it is now, I remember a family in Pennsylvania who treated us with great kindness for bringing home their son. And I want to tell them, thank you. Thank you.
Have a fairy tale Friday. Do something that fosters memories.