From about 1994 to 2001 I worked part time as a Church Secretary. This was after working a full time job for three years as a Corrections Officer. I’ve said it many times, if I worked any longer than those three years I’d be divorced and an alcoholic. For a Mom with two little kids it was difficult for me not to be there for them at all times. I had to switch shifts every two months and switch my days off as well, never, ever having Saturday and Sunday off together. It was a difficult time and I missed a lot of time watching them grow.
When the opportunity was handed to me on a silver platter to take the part time job at the Church with absolutely no benefits I took the job without hesitation. During those seven years, I found myself again and could be with the two children I loved more than any job security.
Every Tuesday there was a group of older woman who came to the Church to tie quilts. The quilts would then be packed up once a year and sent to people in need. The women would work for an hour or two and then they would have a break for coffee and treats. These lovely women always invited myself and Pastor Jake to join them. We would visit for a bit and then head back to our offices and they back to tying quilts. I could see them from my office door and listen to their chatter. These were good days. Peaceful days. Lovely days.
These women always made me feel welcome. There were lots of laughs. I don’t remember many serious conversations. I suppose there had to be a few. Most of these women are gone now. These were the women who had time to make their treats from scratch. I’ve held onto a recipe from one of these women all these years. It was so good I had asked her for her recipe and she was kind enough to share it with me. Her name was Inez. She was a small women with white hair and as my mind remembers her, a bit quiet. Maybe she wasn’t but that is how I remember her. She came to Church every Sunday and sat with her Ex-daughter in law Mavis. I have a very poor memory on many things in my life, but I can still see those two sitting there on the right side of the church a few pews back from the front.
Mavis was larger than life in personality and in stature. She towered over Inez. I always thought it was so nice they remained friends after Mavis’ divorce from Inez’s son. They were both very nice women. Mavis knew I had a love of hats and out of the blue she gave me a few of her old hats, shortly before she died. She had made one of them, back in the days when ladies always had a hat on their head. I’m sorry that fashion died, but it hasn’t stopped me. I still, to the chagrin of my husband and youngest son, will wear a hat to Church when I feel the mood. I love hats. Inez’s death was easier to deal with, she was of that age when you can say to yourself, she had a good long life. Mavis on the other hand made me very sad and angry. Twenty years of being cancer free it returned with a vengeance and took her quick and too soon. I miss her and Inez and they both have been gone for many years now.
Somewhere in that time frame of seven years, when I worked at the Church, I asked Inez for her recipe for Sour Cream Coffee cake and she brought me the recipe the week after I asked her for it. It has taken me all these, probably 21 years, to finally make it. I’m not sure why it took me so long to do this. Maybe I was afraid it wouldn’t be as good as Inez’s. I’m not always successful in the kitchen or maybe I just missed Inez and that time in my life where these woman and that job brought me peace of mind. Maybe it just made me sad that she and Mavis are both gone. I will never hear their voices again, I will never hear Mavis laugh or be able to bring her a cup of coffee when she asked. But I can put Mavis’ hat on my head and I can make Inez’s coffee cake and remember their faces and the peace and joy they brought to my life. Today for the first time I made Inez’s cake and tomorrow I will share it with others during the Fellowship Hour at Church. I think Inez, and Mavis too, would like that. I just hope it tastes a little bit as good as Inez’s.
Go do something new!