Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Mom's Fridge

'Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.'

-Helen Keller-

Mom passed away last year. I'll spare you the details. No, I won't. She died 15 months, 30 days, 16 hours ago. My husband says I do grief real well.

I've moved on with my memories. Some good. Some bad.

I woke up this morning thinking about my mom's fridge.

Every cubic inch spewed with surprises. Leftovers of hearty meatloaf, potato salad, and jammed-in pizza boxes. A sticky bottle of maraschino cherries. Ingredients of churned butter, whipping cream, and eggs begging to go into Mom's hands, with a cupful of sugar, and baked into a mouth-watering pie. A spray can of whipped topping sometimes fell into my mouth before the pie was done.

Also inside, some bad surprises. Green blotchy cheese. Stinky trout with their heads still on, their eyes reflecting their last vision of certain death. And speaking of eyes, Mom would store cauliflowerettes in a tub of water. They didn't look like anything from our vegetable garden. I knew for certain they were disintegrating eyeballs!

I had the normal childhood. No pony for my birthday, but no dead bodies in the backyard, either.

In the opening quote Helen Keller infers we must endure the bad in order to become the good. As a writer of suspense I am constantly delving deep into my past, real and imagined, in order to bring a third, matrix-like dimension to the blank page. Keller's simple but poignant statement calls out to me to reign through each character, each setting, all dialogue and the absence of it.

It's an ominous and exciting challenge. I am inspired by Keller to see more than the eyes can bare witness.

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