Our thanks to literary publicist Lynda Bouchard for this guest contribution. Happy Thanksgiving!
Each Thanksgiving I return home to the rural Vermont town I couldn’t wait to leave at 17. I wander the side streets to our town park where snow often covers the verdant landscape. The park overlooks Main Street. It hasn’t changed one bit. But I have. I feel the same age as when I left, speeding into the unknown, never giving a backward glance – except now I am more thankful for having grown up here. It has shaped me forever.
There is a sureness of a small town, a certainty that traditions will be honored. My m other’s custom was to let my sister and me make something for Thanksgiving dinner. I remember the weathered rolling pins, rustic mixing bowls and an old wooden recipe box with dog-eared cards written in my mother’s flowery script. Those cards, splattered and yellowed with age, connect me to my mother and my grandmothers. The recipe box is full of cherished memories of times shared.
Each card is a piece of flash fiction with revisions, crossed out words, notes in the margins (‘use for cocktail parties’), random pieces of paper, historical insights (‘Uncle Bob’s original concoction. A favorite’), editorial comments (‘could use more salt’). They have the unique ability to transport me back to those family celebrations. A handwritten recipe stirs emotions and tells so much about the intent and life of the cook. Something that sleek digital files can’t match.
I’m sure my mother never thought of herself as a writer. She thought of herself as a housewife, living her entire life in the town where she was born, a place made of dreams, a drowsy village bordering Canada and tucked next to Lake Champlain. But a writer she became with every recipe she made her own through testing, revision, improvement and luck. The remnants of her writing will outlive her – as is true of all great stories.
The recipe box is part of a writing life. The creative life of memory makers and keepers.
LYNDA BOUCHARD is founder of Booking Authors Ink, a boutique marketing firm dedicated to Southern authors. She is known for her ‘outside the book’ unique pitches and has garnered major media hits for her clients as a result. Follow her on Twitter: @AuthorsInk or on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bookingauthorsink