My mother-in-law always reminded me of Mother Hubbard. Short and round, with her hair pulled up in a bun atop her head. Her face was wrinkled by time and hard work, but her smile was ever present. And just as present was the multi-pocketed apron with treasures that drew her grandchildren like unseen magnets. They held rubber bands and hair pins, paper clips and little bits of paper with important notes. There was an occasional dime store toy, usually already broken, but what the children hoped to find were the hard wrapped candies that she always had.
My grandmother didn’t wear an apron. Never saw her cook anything but an occasional pot of beans that only contained beans, baking soda and chicken broth. Nothing else. She used her oven to hold important documents. But she did have pockets in the sweaters and jackets that she always wore. Her pockets held two things, tic-tacs and tissues, so it was always a roll of the dice when she reached in as to what she’d retrieve. About the time we realized how gross this was, we were also able to fend off her attempts to wipe our faces with her napkin which she had dipped in our drinking water – never hers.
Now that I am a grandmother, I think about pockets in a slightly different light. Pockets of time between the first and second rise of the bread I learned to make during COVID’s quarantine. Pockets of pillowed air that surround the Amazon orders that arrived in greater numbers since we couldn’t go shopping. Pockets of already breathed air in the masks that we wear. But, mostly, pockets of opportunity when we can choose the high road of brotherly love instead of fear and angst.
And sometimes I admit that I reminisce about those simpler times when pockets were about wrapped candies, dime store treasures and tic-tacs.