Kentucky Stories of Loss

Mom's School Lunches

Who did you lose to Covid 19? Ramona Gordon

Today is the first day of school in our county. I can feel the anticipation and nervousness hanging in the air like a fog on this wet August morning. Neighborhood children sporting new shoes and carrying fresh lunchboxes make their way to school, and I can’t help but be transported to my own grade school days.

Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, we were lucky to live just two blocks from school. My brother, sister, and I were “walkers” as they called us, and we didn’t need lunchboxes because we were allowed to go home for lunch. Even my dad came home to eat, driving from across town. We all looked forward to Mom’s noon-time menu.

We arrived in staggered shifts, and she would have a hot, steaming plate of heaven waiting for each one of us. I remember the large cast-iron skillet filled with freshly fried potatoes, the edges crispy and golden. I loved Mom’s homegrown stewed tomatoes, warm and tangy, ladled over creamy mashed potatoes and served with thick, salty bacon.

During the winter months, we were greeted with bowls of beef and homemade egg noodles, a tradition handed down from Mom’s German roots. Making the noodles was a two-day project, as she and Dad would hand-cut every noodle and then lay them out to dry.

When I was a child, lunches at home didn’t seem like something to be cherished. However, looking back now, I can truly appreciate those hectic but sacred family times. It was a 30-minute retreat in the middle of a busy school day.

It must have been a difficult chore for Mom, barely getting us off to school in the morning before she had to think about what to cook for lunch. She didn’t think feeding us at lunch was anything special, but she was actually giving us a wonderful gift. Those sights, smells and tastes have remained with me all these years.

It comforts me to think of Mom like that, bustling around in our warm and welcoming kitchen. We lost her in January of 2021 when the world was neither.

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