Monday, October 4, 2010

my slice of americana: kitchen edition

this weekend, my family and i went further up into the mountains to visit my aunt and uncle and see the wonderful addition to their house. on saturday afternoon, my dad graciously watched judah for me while i joined the ladies in downtown sonora for some antiquing.
pretty much a one-street town, sonora is a tourist stop for those visiting the "mother lode" country. its main street has covered sidewalks and that old town feel that comes from being . . . well, an old town.

i wandered a bit, fussing with my camera because i can't seem to get the lens lint free, and took a few pictures.

and somewhere past the candy shop, i stumbled upon my dream kitchen in the window of antique store #18. it was breathtaking. from the porcelain-topped, expanding table (in red and white!) with red chairs, to the turquoise dishes with matching, intact, glass lids.
oh dear sweet kitchen heaven.
i became envious. and then i reminded myself that the Lord has commanded that we not covet. and there on the chair i saw a beautiful yellow, white and red cake tin.

it called to me, i heard it. i picked it up. visions of spice cake danced in my head.

it was reasonably priced. i considered the purchase. i glanced up to see the store retreated far behind me and realized i was having a hard time leaving the window display. i sent a hurried picture text to emily saying that i'd found my kitchen. she understood completely. with a deep breath, i moved on, still clutching the cake tin. i helped my mother find the perfect glass jar for her candy corn, tried on amazing vintage hats, exclaimed aloud over a turquoise, tiered, rolling kitchen shelf with removable top tray. i searched for "old fashioned girl" by louisa may alcott and for copies of "now we are six" and/or "when we were very young" by a.a. milne. i was unable to find any of these. i carried my cake tin past displays of vintage toys, racks of quilts, and shelves of old lighters. somehow i found myself right back in "my" kitchen. i sat on the red chair. and there i debated.

it's silly, really, to put so much thought into a cake tin. but here's what was behind my struggle, as i confessed it to my mother:
i could purchase the tin. but then when i got it home, it would most likely go into storage like the rest of my wonderful, valued kitcheny things. i dream, very often, of a place all my own. my own kitchen in which i prepare every meal for judah and myself. my own kitchen in my own home and i can have friends over for dinner parties whenever i fancy. this cake tin was not only a tin, it was a symbol of something i want. a life i miss and want to return to everyday. boxed up in the garage not 50 feet from where i now sit are kitchen treasures all my own, waiting. and somedays, that's exactly how i feel. like i'm just waiting for the day when i (like my kitchen aide so pretty and red, or my mixing bowls, porcelain and multi-colored) can be put to use again.

but my struggle doesn't end there. because the other side of me, the practical but also bleeding heart-ed side, says that none of this is necessary. it says that nicole doesn't even have a kitchen. it reminds me that mme valet is living in a tent. the other side of me pictures mama joassaint cooking over that charcoal fire all day to feed the hungry neighborhood children and never ever dreaming of a silly cake tin in which to carry a cake to a party.
how ridiculous. how superfluous.

i confessed these things to my mama and set the cake tin down. having said this aloud, i realized how unnecessary the tin was. beautiful, yes. desirable, of course. necessary? not in the least. and i have limited funds. they can be put to better use.
(did i mention i'm sponsoring a child?)

without a backwards glance, i lead the charge to the next store where my mother found a wonderful muffin top tin, thank you, jerry seinfeld. we had a delightful afternoon although we were unsuccessful in finding a whirley pop popcorn maker for my aunt.

returning to my aunt's house, i filled the evening with judah and family. i didn't think again about that silly (and perfect) cake tin. it wasn't until sunday when we were driving out of town and my mom asked that my dad stop the car for a moment, did i start to think about the tin again. but what she did next i did not expect.
my mother returned to the car carrying a paper bag. as she sat down, it made an unmistakeable tinny sound. she smiled as she turned and handed the bag to me.
"what did you do, mama?" was all i could ask.
and do you know what she said?

"it's a hope-tin for you. i'm praying for a kitchen to go around it. the Lord has a plan for you, sister. and i can't wait to see what He does."

and i cried just a bit.


Elias said...

how wonderful is our mama? a small picture of the love Christ has for us.

Christine said...

o man. noah and I both cried. a bit. Martha is amazing. you guys are so blessed to have such a wonderful mama. your words are so eloquent and how can you help it with such inspiration! It is a beautiful. a perfect hope-tin. I too can't wait to see it's home. I will pray for that place also.

Anonymous said...

Angela, yes, i love this exact same era and things...Taunya has that table in her kitchen...we found it years ago in Illinois, when we visited my Grand-father some 20 years ago...we saw it at a garage sale...she always loved it,wonderful to make cookies on, and roll out pie dough, a 'pastry' table with that table top of white enamel...someone painted the legs red.(can you imagine)..but the top is just the same. The little red drawer front fell off but she still has it, it was something i thought she would love...i was shocked to see this picture you posted, i thought that's our table. Anyway, so happy you had a wonderful you, Toni

Carsen said...

I have a similar box in my garage and have started collecting things like mason jars for that very reason.
In my reading today Oswald Chambers reminded me that it is in the valley that we learn to hear the voice of God the best. I'm ready for a kitchen of my own as well, but this time of waiting is not in vain. I love you, friend, and love that you have such a wonderful mama.

Emily Strawn Photography said...

well gosh....i cryed a little bit too!! :)
What a great mama! I love that she is praying for the kitchen to go around the tin. (oh and how prefect and cute it is!!!) I love you so much friend. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

Shanley said...

This was wonderful, friend.
It encouraged MY heart.