Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Here are a couple of the definitions of "angel" as found on

- a person having qualities generally attributed to an angel, as beauty, purity, or kindliness.
- a person whose actions and thoughts are consistently virtuous.
- an attendant or guardian spirit.

I have had several attendants of late to whom I owe a very large debt of gratitude.

One, René, I am looking forward to having around the kitchen at Flying Squirrel. She has been helping out in amazing ways: keeping the production line going at the new Flying Squirrel Cabinet Shop that has taken over the dining area, cleaning up all the dirt that keeps getting tracked into the kitchen when I am not around to do it, and keeping our spirits up with background music and smoky little cowboy coffee fires in the parking lot.

It can be so incredibly difficult to ask for help when you need it the most. I have been getting pretty good at it lately. In fact, if anyone wants to join in a work party cleaning day, you can come to the bakery on Sunday between 11 am and 4 pm so I will really feel surrounded by angels!

Several months ago it became clear that Brian and I were losing all of our time for household chores, cooking healthful meals, playing with Oliver, doing laundry etc. So, can you guess who I called for help?

The other angel is no less than my own mother.

The irony in asking my mother for help particularly is that I have recently made the acquaintance of a 21 year old apprentice baker who has hopes of learning something from the likes of me. Upon his arrival from his home in Arizona, I detected several very obvious things about him right away. One, his enthusiasm for participating in our project. Two, his elation at discovering this wild, amazing, unusual and eye opening place called Alaska. And three, his quiet but discernible eye rolling and inner angst regarding the presence of his parents. I distinctly remember this time in my life (don't worry parents of young adults, evidently it will pass). I'm pretty sure my mother remembers it too.

So, here I am, twenty or so years later and not two days ago, weak tears of sadness flowed freely from my exhausted eyes when I had to drop off my mother at the airport, sending her back to Philadelphia after three weeks of cooking and cleaning in my house, carting around and entertaining my son, and even staining a few pieces of trim here and there. Truly, I don't know what we would have done without her. I think even crusty old Brian said a hearty "thanks and come back any time"! She gave it her all and hardly complained except to say that she was worried about me working too hard and that my poor dad sacrificed an awful lot for her to come.

And all I can do is say thank you which doesn't seem nearly enough. Well, at least she got a little tipsy on a few glasses of wine on her last day. And I know she thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her grandson. And I think somewhere deep in her heart she knows that all those things I said when I was in my late teens and early twenties have been washed away and the true appreciation and love that I feel for my mother (maybe even all mothers) is as genuine and real as it ever will be.

I love you Mom! Next time you come, I promise some fresh caught fish on your dinner plate!


  1. Beautiful! Here's to all our Angels...known and unawares! ;-)

  2. Lovely tribute, Anita. Any mother would cherish your sincere appreciation!

  3. I agree. I have known this for 45 years! (Remarkable, since we are only 39)

  4. Yay! I'm mentioned on a blog! ( I didnt roll my eyes on purpose haha.
    From Scott
    not so anonymous

  5. My mom has been my angel many times over. In many ways it took becoming a mom myself for me to truly understand her life. Thanks for writing this.

    I am thinking about you constantly and deeply sad that I am not there. I am there in spirit, I assure you.

    Much, much, much love.