Note: This post actually isn’t about books (see the photo) or the macaroni stick. It’s about what happens when we lose things. And find them. Or not.
My mother’s macaroni stick, I am convinced, was enchanted. With it she created flawless “homemades” and ravioli, holiday after holiday, year after year. She made her last batch of ravioli for Easter, just a few months before she passed at 88.
Even though I don’t have the skill or patience to stretch and whip the dough over that long dowel my father crafted for her, I made my claim to the macaroni stick very clear. Eventually, it passed into my hands.
Imagine my horror, then, a few years ago, when I couldn’t find it anywhere. There were many long months when just the thought of it provoked near hysteria. I summoned St. Anthony, over and over. I sent Facebook messages and texts to friends and relatives asking if I’d loaned it to them. I tore the house apart. I looked in incredulous places. I pouted. I cried. I drove my poor husband crazy.
Then, a year or more after I realized that the macaroni stick was missing, I found it. In the very back of my baking cabinet, behind my rolling pin, as I reached for a pie plate. It had been there all along, of course. I cried again, this time out of happiness and relief. Too bad I’d wasted so much time mired in grief and guilt, so much time feeling stupid and careless, when all along, it had been in its rightful place. There’s a moral there, somewhere.
Now I have a new lost-but-not-found tale. Just after Thanksgiving, I ordered several books: Louise Penny’s latest (and boy, is it stunning!), Kingdom of the Blind, plus three copies of Adriana Trigiani’s new release, Tony’s Wife. I laid these books aside for a week because we were about to have guests (you’ll hear about our elves in another post) and didn’t think about it again until the house had emptied out. I devoured Kingdom of the Blindand wrapped one copy of Tony’s Wifeto ship for Christmas. Then I went looking for the other two.
I thought I’d put them in a shopping bag of presents to wrap, but when I emptied the bag… no books. I went to the bookshelves, thinking I’d jammed them into an empty space… no books. I went upstairs to the guest bedrooms, where I typically stash Christmas paraphernalia and gifts bought ahead of time… no books. I tore through every empty drawer and both guest closets… no books.
Today, I’m dusted the bookshelves, at my cousin/my elf Liz’s suggestion. Sadly, no luck. zLi is joining me in entreaties to St. Anthony, in whom I normally have a lot of well-documented confidence. I’m not as hysterical as I was over the macaroni stick, which is priceless and irreplaceable in so many ways. After all, I can replace these books with one click. Still, I’m preoccupied and frustrated. The bigger problem is that when something like this happens, you a) become obsessive and b) start to think you’re crazy. I’m hoping the latter is not the case. Did I mention that I’m also ripping mad that I haven’t been able to read Tony’s Wife yet?
There are often happy endings to such stories. Consider the macaroni stick. I’m reminded of an Austrian friend who every year made the most sensational Viennese pastries and Christmas cookies. Because her husband and two sons would have devoured them long before the holiday, she did all her baking when no one was around and carefully hid batch after batch. The hiding place changed from year to year. Then one year, a week or so before the holiday, she set out to retrieve the precious sweets and had hidden them so well that she couldn’t find them. A year later, as she was preparing for Christmas, she discovered all those luscious treats, untouched in their tins.
I’ll let you know if I find the books.