It's blustery cold here today so I thought it the perfect day to put a roast, carrots, potatoes, and corn on the cob into the oven. The warm oven and the smell of all that yumminess makes a winter day seem kinda earthy and special.
As I prepped the potatoes to go into the pot my mind drifted. I thought of the countless times I had watched my Dad peel potatoes, "back in the day". Born in 1920 he knew well what it was like to live during the Great Depression. As best as I've been able to piece together, his family were tenant farmers, always living on someone else's farm and working the land, then moving on to another farm when another crop was available for workers. I've tried to imagine just what that must have been like for him, his Mom and Dad and three sisters. Hard work was the norm for them as it was for all the people they knew. This was their world.
My Dad was a very rugged, blue collar worker. If the weather was above freezing he worked long hard hours when I was a child. But, when the Oklahoma temps were low there was little work. On these days he often gave Mom some relief in the kitchen. I can see him in my mind now. He would pull the trash can to the middle of the kitchen, then scoot a chair up close to it and begin to peel potatoes. His work was slow and meticulous. The potato skins were removed in thin, almost transparent strips as they fell into the garbage. His method was an art. None of the meat of the potato was wasted. None. I've never been able to duplicate him - I don't have the skill or the patience. When I peel a potato it's a quick, rough process. I'm sure he'd laugh and shake his head to see my potato skills.
People pass, but the sweetest, and sometimes the most trivial of memories remain and bring warm happiness on a cold day in January.