Earlier the house was full of life — guests trickled in to be greeted by big barks and jumps of canine hospitality. They arrived to good smells from the kitchen and to a dining table set and ready for action.
They came, they ate and they left. All is now quiet on the western front. Too quiet, as if our feast for thirteen never was. But the leftovers in the refrigerator remain to tell a different story.
I enjoy having a house full of people. I love all the preparations and the cooking and the visiting and I don’t even mind the clean-up. It’s all good, it all brings me joy, though the house does grow too quiet when the last guest departs.
My guests received pretty packages of home-made fudge as parting gifts this year — a taste of Christmas to carry to their next stop in life, to serve as a reminder of the time marked together. Two leftover packages of fudge remain. Sitting on the glass cake plate, they too contain a story, as they wait to be picked up by those missed at our table today.
It’s funny how the act of making something like candy or dressing or noodles can open a door to our past. I have missed Granny this week as I’ve made her dressing and noodles. And I missed her last night as I was making the fudge.
Granny and her daughters always made plenty of home-made candy during the holiday season — there was peanut brittle, and fudge and something called Aunt Bill’s and my grandmother’s favorite divinity. It’s strange to think that I am now the one playing the part of grandmother — making the candy and the noodles and the dressing.
So many that I once celebrated Thanksgiving with are gone. But their traditions are my legacy. Making home-made candy, noodles and dressing are leftovers of my grandmother’s life, her parting gifts to me to do with as I see fit. I could let her traditions die. Or I can keep them alive, and by doing so, keep the memory of my grandmother alive also.
Leftovers are reminders of what has come before. We find them in the refrigerator and on a cake plate and in our family traditions. Leftovers remain behind to tell a story. And so do I.