So lets pretend it's still Easter night and I'm writing this and NOT that it's days later - k?
This morning I was making a chocolate cream pie for the hubs for dessert. I had a store bought crust and just needed to make the pudding and throw on some cool whip and call it done. I wasn't in the mood for pulling out my mixer and I figured I'd use a spoon or a whisk. As I poured the pudding into the bowl I remembered something.
In the drawer is a hand mixer - an old fashioned hand mixer. I use it oftenish in the winter when I want to make a hot carob (almond milk, carob powder and stevia - usually orange stevia) but I haven't had one of those in a while so it's been sitting doing nothing for some time now.
Anyway, I grabbed it and started blending the milk and pudding mix (this is not brain surgery clearly) and my mind wandered (probably a good thing it's not brain surgery huh?) back to when my mom got this mixer.
Kenny had just died and his mom had wanted my mom to have something to remember him by and a kitchen tool was just the right thing seeing as he'd been head chef at a pretty well known establishment in Boston.
Let me rewind a bit... I was 17 years old and Kenny and his siblings had been my neighbors. He was the first openly gay person I knew (hello small town ignorance). To my credit I couldn't have cared anymore then than I do now about someone's preference. He was also the first person I knew to have (and ultimately die of) AIDS. The credit stops there. I never went to see him once he was sick. I was scared to talk to his mom for fear... Fear of what I don't know. Unfortunately many of the neighbors felt this way. Not my mom!
She'd go over and visit, for a while it was weekly and then when he got sicker anytime he was up for a visit. I begged "don't go mama, I don't want you to die." She laughed at me and said "It's not tuberculous is and I am not treating him as a leper I've lived that man since I held him as a baby and I'll love him as I hold him on his deathbed" mom made certain "concessions" for my fears. She would shower and wash her clothes as soon as she got home, she told me she wore gloves (knowing my mother and her love of holding hands flesh to flesh and her forehead kisses I am pretty certain she lied to me here). She went to his wake, she went to his funeral, she went to the after "party" that's when she came home with the mixer
I remember being appalled by it! It had his germs on it. NO making anything that would pass my lips with that thing! Nope, no sir! Well as the years passed and I learned more about the world (and myself) I was no longer afraid of his mixer (just as I'd no longer be afraid of him) and as my mom lay dying I'd often cook for something to do. I could be near her but still allow her to rest. More and more I'd pull out "Kenny's mixer" to whip cream for pussy willow pudding or froth milk for a latte. When mom died the mixer just sort of became mine. I remember talking with Kenny's mom about how sorry I was she said it was okay that we'd all had to learn and that's what life was about. I asked her if I could keep the mixer and she gladly said yes. When we moved I threw away many (aka most - have to when you're moving into a house 1/3 the size) things but the mixer made the cut.
The difference between when my mom brought that "instrument of death" home and now? When I'm done making my hot carobs I lick the beaters. I wish that Kenny could be with me; I would have loved to have learned a thing or two from him in the kitchen (hubs probably would appreciate it too since making Easter dinner caused the fire alarm to go off three separate times).
I guess that it takes time to grow up and learn and probably a little bit of bravery to buck the system and not be afraid of everything. I'm proud of my mom for listening to her beliefs and letting love prevail.
Every time I use those beaters I send a prayer to heaven asking Kenny to cook with me and to forgive me my ignorance.
And on Easter Day, Kenny, his mixer and I made a great dessert that hubs and his family loved.