Monday, November 26, 2012

Slow Down and Peel Potatoes

I have potato memories.  I might seem a little silly, but my potato memories sort of ooze and mash and slice through me when I take the time to let them.  This morning I woke early.  The house was quiet, the best kind at times.  Knowing that tonight some 25 people would join us for celebrating Thanksgiving, I thought, "I might as well get busy."  Twenty pounds of potatoes sat there waiting.

As I started to pee,l in the cool early morning,  in the quiet house, I went places.  Good places. Childhood places, early motherhood places, brother places, planting places, mother places. Twenty pounds of potatoes were peeled before I realized it and I was full.  Full of heritage and pickups and dirt.

My parents would go to a potato field after the potatoes had been plowed up.  We would walk the furrows and pick up the newly dug treasure.  Our truck would be full of potatoes and our journey home would begin.    I would fall asleep on the way home and somehow those potatoes magically ended up in the cave.  The cave was one of three underground places on our farm where certain magic would happen.  This one, was the potato cave, and I didn't really care for it as a child. 

Mom gave my brother and me the job of keeping the potatoes sprouted.  If you look at a potato it has "eyes." Each eye will begin to put out roots to grow new potatoes and sacrifice itself for the benefit of new growth.  Our job was to prevent that from happening and pull off the sprouts.  We would be sent to the dark dry cave and told to "sprout the potatoes."  I hated that job.  It was dark, I knew spiders or something awful was lurking, and my brother made sure that my fantasy stayed alive.  I don't know if mom sent us there to get us out of her hair or as punishment, but I vividly remember the potato; picked off newly furrowed ground, lying in a dark dirt cave, awaiting two youngsters to save their self destruction.

My potato memories flowed through motherhood and carefully watching my young children manage the removal of a potato and it's skin.  Their pride in culinary ability.

So, as I peeled potatoes I thought about so many things, my babies, now grown, my grandchildren, now grown.....hey, but here I am with a potato, what am I to know?  

Holding a potato in my hand with a knife ready to strip it of it's protection, I realized that perhaps this was a picture of life.  Something with so much potential, protected only by a small thin skin. 
I went in my mind to life and it's value and what we consider protection. 

I'm not sure I will ever peel a potatoe  again without thinking about how something so important is protected by such a thin veil.  Our lives are like that very potatoe.   Rich, powerful, nutricious, important, and so very fragile in it's protection. 

Slow down.  Think about the joys that come your way.  Whether it be potaoes or something wtih equal joy and simplicity, slow down and think about them and how your life has been blessed by there very existence. 

My mom served a fine Sunday dinner.  She forgot the potaoes once and could barely forgive herself.  Potatoes have a special place.  

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