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The True Meaning Of A Kitchen

We’re remodeling a kitchen.

People don’t know whether to congratulate us when they hear that we are remodeling a kitchen, or look at us with a fair amount of pity.

We’re in the middle of the process, but can see the light. The refrigerator is in the foyer, den chairs are gracing the very crowded sunroom, and we’ve had a garbage can sitting in our front flower bed for six months.

It will all be worth it. Right?

childhood, looking back, remodeling a kitchenYesterday I said goodbye to the kitchen where I’ve passionately cooked for twenty-odd years, itself remodeled from its original 1974 version. I walked slowly around the space that I’ve either called “tiny” or “cozy,” dependent on the day.

Memories came flooding back.

I stood exactly where I had stood when I got the call my mother had suddenly died. My hands touched the cool smoothness of the counter tops where I’d shooed away curious cats, fed starving teenagers and served up everything from fried chicken to artichoke soup. I listened for the creak in the wood floors, created when the dishwasher had leaked only a few months after we’d put them in.

Luckily, I love a good creak.

Nostalgia welled up in me in the early morning light. I watched through the big window as the sun began peaking over the trees, the memorabilia that usually crowded the sill already packed away. Our contractor would’ve killed me if he’d known what I was thinking.

But for a moment, I wanted time to stand still.

This kitchen was the place much of my life had happened. Homework, laughter, arguments — great times and not so great times — so much more than a place to prepare food. It was the place I’d watched my son travel from toddler to grown man — where my parents had sat with silly birthday hats on their heads, eating cake and blowing horns– where I’d shared countless, “Glad you’re back home hugs” with my husband — where good friends had sat elbow to elbow to savor my homemade meatballs.

By this time, the sun was up. I dried the few tears that had come, unexpected reflections of letting go.

My kitchen already looked like an alien. No huge pots hanging down over the stovetop, no “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” sign hanging over the sink. (Can you even see those words without hearing Simon and Garfunkel?)
cooking with herbs, shopping for produce, entertaining friends, getting punk'd

I sighed slowly. It’s exciting after all.

I don’t really want time to stand still. The getting older part can be a bit frustrating. The potential of loss more frightening.

With luck, there will be more memories. More fried chicken. Maybe another cat. The artichoke soup was kind of stringy, so perhaps something more in the asparagus or leek category.

So goodbye dear kitchen. I’ve loved you. Cussed at you. Cleaned you. Been proud of you.

Your new look is on the way.

Please feel free to stick around, and enjoy.

Pick up a copy of the perfect gift book of anniversaries,wedding or engagements, “Marriage Is Not For Chickens”, written by Dr. Margaret! She takes a feisty and poignant look at what marriage is, and what it definitely is not. And tune into her new podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford, where you can listen to her direct and down-to-earth advice.

Margaret Rutherford

Dr. Margaret Rutherford is a clinical psychologist, who has practiced for over twenty years in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Since 2012, her writing has been found on her own website, as she writes about mental health, with a special focus on Perfectly Hidden Depression, midlife and relationship issues. She's the current mental health columnist for Midlife Boulevard, writes an advice column on Vibrant Nation, is a weekly columnist for The Good Men Project, and hosts a regular FB Live video session on depression for The Mighty. Her work and expertise can also be found on The Huffington Post, Sixty and Me, Better After 50, Reader's Digest, Prevention, Psychology Today, and The Cheat Sheet. Dr. Margaret recently has launched a new podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford, where you can listen to her direct and down-to-earth advice.

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Tuesday 30th of May 2017

It is always a good idea to change and remodel, at least for me. You'll definitely miss it, but look on the bright side. There should be a change and you will love the new kitchen even more. Good luck.

Becky Galli

Friday 26th of May 2017

Wonderful piece, Anne! More than food comes from the kitchen, that's for sure!

Margaret Rutherford

Friday 26th of May 2017

Thanks Becky for your truer than true words!

Jeanne Tapp

Thursday 25th of May 2017

sweet memories - I hope you like your new kitchen!

Margaret Rutherford

Thursday 25th of May 2017

I know we will Jeanne! You can't make room for fresh new memories without putting away from some older ones. Thanks for reading!

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