Sunday, May 11, 2008

Oldie but Goodie

In honor of Mother's Day, here a little something I wrote about my momma many years ago.

Sunday smells like forgiven souls, ancient recipes, and mama's homemade
tortillas. My mama's perfectly manicured cabernet red nails sink into the
belly of the still warm masa. Forcing every element to sacrifice its
original state, to become a creation at her hands, masa.
The stick of wood, smoothed out over years, molds the fat, raw, ball into a
paper-thin tortilla. Mama beats the dough with the stick as if it would
refuse to be rolled out, as if she had to beat some sense into it. Over
and over again she rolls one way and then the other, until the rhythm is in sync
with her favorite mariachi band. The sound of the old brass trumpet and
the forgotten stories of the guitar are pressed in with every stroke of her

After every fat little ball is molded into a perfect circle, as if cut from a pattern,
she lifts the tortilla, careful not to puncture any holes. The searing waves of heat escape from the cast iron comal. Yet with the same hands which are like an angels breath on my face, she gently places the tortilla on the comal. And while attending to the cauldron of beans, pan of steaming rice, and three children revolving around her, she manages to keep an attentive eye on her doughy white tortillas. As she sees the little bubbles pop up on their still raw surface, she instinctively flips it over to expose its now golden brown skin. Then with in a few seconds she is balancing a homemade
tortilla, on her now flour crusted nails and promptly stuffs it in-between the
folds of a kitchen towel to keep it as warm as a seven-year-olds face on a
summer day.

Today is Sunday; today we have tortillas.

I love you Mom!

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