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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)

TITLE: The Yellow Bowl
By Joy Bach
03/08/08


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When I married 48 years ago, one of our wedding presents was a glass set of nesting mixing bowls. The largest of these bowls was yellow. Just the right size for mixing a double batch of cookies.

As the children came along, my desire was for them to have better memories than I had as a child. So that yellow bowl became one of my ways to make memories with my children during the fleeting time they would be under my roof. I sewed us all matching aprons. When we donned our aprons, we were ready for the fun.

A cookbook of just cookie recipes was purchased. We made all kinds. Some we didn’t like so much. Others became our “traditions”. Sugar cookies became a favorite. This involved a lot of work. Mixing…rolling out the dough…cutting out various shapes…baking them…letting them cool…and then the frosting. Sometimes this was a two-day job.

Christmas time was when we specialized. Snickerdoodles rolled in red and green sugars. Candy cane cookies, where half the dough was red and you twisted two strips to make a candy cane. Then someone was given the fun of placing peppermint in a dish towel and using the hammer to break it up. The broken pieces were dropped on the candy cane as it came hot from the oven. Of course we made sugar cookies frosted in red and green and covered with sprinkles and sugars. While we created with our hands, the aroma of cookies settled into our memories.

And always there was a mess to clean up afterwards.

The girl’s friends seemed to appear at cookie-making time and we made them feel welcome. We taught them the all-important concept of eating cookie dough. A portion of the dough would be set aside, placed in a baggie and stored in the refrigerator. For the next several days, we could still savor the memory of making cookies.

One day at cookie-making time, Lorinda arrived, invited by my daughter Dawn. She was starved for love. I could see it in her eyes. She had never made cookies before, a fact which astonished my children. A little more flour went on the floor, more icing dribbled down the counter. But the glow on Lorinda’s face made it worthwhile.

I made Lorinda her very own apron, which she wore like a badge of honor. The apron seemed to signal to her an acceptance as part of our family. I became “Mom”.

My life went south. My husband left and money was scarce. I even had to go on food stamps (very humiliating). But I needed those cookie-making sessions as much as my children. It meant we were still connected.

The girls grew up and moved away. I re-married. Fourteen years into that marriage, we moved into a brand new house. I had never had my own home before. It was a delight to fix it up.

But there was that yellow bowl. I’ve never liked yellow. So I bought a new set of nesting mixing bowls. Burgundy. I placed the new set in the yellow bowl on the shelf. Each time I opened that cupboard, the yellow bowl yelled at me. It had to go. But I just couldn’t get rid of it. It was filled with too many memories.

My daughter, Lyn, came to visit. Of the three girls, she had been the one who wanted to make cookies the most. I took her to the cupboard, pointed to the yellow bowl and asked, “Would you like to have that bowl?”

A grin from ear to ear was my answer. And so it went home with her.

But that is not the end of the story.

She is in a relationship with a man who has a young son, Blake. He visits his dad every other weekend. Blake had never made cookies. Lyn could not let that happen. Out came the yellow bowl. A mess was made. But a glow was on the face of a young boy.

One weekend, plans had to be changed and Blake was not going to get to come for his visit. With tears in his eyes and a quiver in his lip, he said to his mother, “But I was going to make cookies with Lyn”. Special arrangements were made for Sunday. He got to make his cookies. As he ate the dough, he loudly proclaimed to his dad “this is part of the tradition”.

The yellow bowl is still doing its job…making memories.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 03/13/08
Relatively speaking, I guess one might say that the Yellow Bowl was making memories, by making Cookies, and thus in a round-about way...Making hay while the family was together...and "while the sun shines". Explaining this story to myself, my mouth is beginning to water, for a taste of a cookie.
Christine Dunn03/13/08
What a lovely anecdote. I like how the tradition has continued.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/13/08
I was caught in your "making cookies" web. I thought it was a wonderful tradition and could see your warm heart of love for your daughters, as well as for another child in need of love.
Catrina Bradley 08/13/09
My mom had that same set of bowls, and yes, the big yellow one, too. Many many memories. I'm enjoying your articles, Joy, and can hear your voice in them. If I can offer a touch of red ink - more dialog, please! The bits you have added bring your life-stories to...well to life!