Late evening, measure the flour, the sugar, the salt. Mash the bananas that've been sitting in the fruit basket, ripe for days. Chop the walnuts. Crack the eggs, unwrap the butter. Let the machine hum and mix while the oven preheats.
Every muscle is sore under the work clothes. Hours and days at the end of a shovel and rake will do it. All the body wants is to fall through a hot shower and into bed. To let sleep overtake and swim you down to a deep place where nobody is graduating, nobody is leaving home.
Loves, this one is hard. Last days, last races, last meals together before all kinds of change. I try not to think about all the lasts. I just try to etch this kid into my mind. To hear every deep-voiced word, to see every smile. He has no idea how he wrecks me.
I send the invitations. I plan the food. I buy the plates & cups. Because there's a party coming. A celebration of him! All the excitement and joy and down-right proud takes over in the best way, making room for more good things. Because I want as much excitement as there is heartache, as much joy as there are tears. There's celebration due and I'll be one of the loudest ones cheering.
All of this is still a couple weeks off. Right now, in the dusk of evening at the end of a long, hard day, it's one of his favorites in the mixing bowl: banana bread.
Small things. Big things.
Banana Nut Bread
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°. In a mixer bowl with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. With mixer going at low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with mashed banana, blending well after each addition. Stir in the nuts. Pour into a well-greased loaf pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.