lenten journal: symbol


Today marks two months since my mother died. This poem found me today.


the old cast iron skillet
has soaked up a cookbook
of stories, handed down
from Grandma to you
and then to me.
just salt—no soap—
to clean it; i run my hand
around the side and I
feel the soft oil that has
seasoned the metal,
remnants of memories
and meals, fried chicken,
and bacon by the pound.
these days it feels as heavy
as my grief, even as I scoop
the saved bacon grease
back and watch it melt
in the gentle heat of
the gas burner. I lay the
strips in the skillet one
by one, and the room
smells like family,
like joy—complete when
Ginger takes a bite
and says, “This is almost
as good as your mom’s.”



  1. Milton, when Katherine married and later when Missy married, at their kitchen showers I was able to give each one of them an iron skillet that had been one of their grandmothers’. I don’t remember which girl got whose skillet, and, in fact, I think I did that on purpose. People at those showers were amazed that they were pleased to have a family heirloom of an iron skillet. Mattered not about the other people, just that the girls were quite pleased to get it.

  2. Milton, it has been a little over 5 months that we lost my precious mother. Not
    a day goes by that I don’t smile and thank God for her precious life of faith and unconditional love, but never more than when I make her monkey bread, divinity, fudge squares, green enchiladas, or pull out my iron skillet. God blessed many of us with precious mothers. May their faith live on through us.
    God bless you. May the peace of Christ be with you. Jill

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