The Supermoon and The Spoon: My Mom’s Superstitions

The Spoon

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On this day when the Sun, Earth and Moon create a rare supermoon coinciding with a total lunar eclipse, I recall with fondness my mother.  I think of her singing Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart and how events like these would get her superstitions all rattled and frothing.  On a day like today, she would crack an egg and place it in a corner cup and wait for it the yolk to turn red.  The redness would tell her the state of the future. People read tea leaves. My mom read eggs. She also read spoons. Let me explain.

I am going to start off my explanation by stating the conclusion of this overall piece, if there is any to a stream of consciousness ditty. I miss my mom and everyday there is something there to remind me of her.  Today the supermoon. Tomorrow, a little Debbie Snackcake.  And why shouldn’t it?  She was my everything growing up. When I was a kid I was just as scared of her dying as she was of losing me in a crowded store. I was scared. I was petrified of her dying.  Then it happened and I realized how much harder it was in that every day thereafter I missed her. And because of that I now spread peanut butter with a spoon. Huh? Yes. Let me explain.

My mom loved spoons and hated forks. Did I ever mention my mom was eccentric? Very much so. She found odd things to dislike. She thought forks were distasteful and unnecessary. I never quite understood it. I mean, in my view, spoons were for soup and cereal. Considering that I ate cereal without milk (and thus I ate with my hands) I had a first strike against spoons. Further, I have a love/hate relationship with soup. Soup soothes when ill and feverish. Otherwise soup is for people too lazy to chew. Yes, yes, yes.

Back to mom. I came to realize that her love of spoons was her way of being a feminist.  See feminism was for those other women, said my mom. She didn’t get it. She had done factory work her whole life and didn’t feel like feminism was about her. Bell Hooks would agree. However, her folkloric-inspired worldview  and superstitions gave her an odd feminist take.  Let me explain.

Spoons in our household symbolized women. Forks symbolized men.  Thus, when a spoon fell it meant that a woman would be visiting us. When a fork fell, a man would be visiting us. If a knife fell it meant an argument was forthcoming.   All this symbolism attached to cutlery meant that I never wanted to put the dishes away. It was always my least favorite chore. It was too heavy with meaning and I was scared what actions I would bring forth by my clumsiness. Anyway, that was my mom’s perspective on cutlery. She never ate with a fork.   Even steak -which wasn’t very often due to us being poor and me being a vegetarian-she would hold down with a spoon.  I thought it was the most exasperatingly weirdest thing my mom did. Even in restaurants she would ask for a spoon leaving the waiters a bit perplexed.  Like an idiotic daughter, I was embarrassed by that. Looking back, I realized she was just upending a patriarchal society in her own superstitious way.

Now years after her death, I have started to do something odd. I am using a spoon more readily. When I make my son’s Peanut Butter sandwiches (no jelly-just like grandma) I spread the peanut butter with a spoon. It makes so much more sense to do so than a knife. A knife often tears at the bread. The spoon holds a full amount of peanut butter and spreads in the nicest way. Lats year I had taught my son to spread his own peanut butter on toast using a knife. Now I have asked him to use a spoon. When he asked why I said grandma would have liked it that way and she was a good smart woman.  He looked at me and said “ok. sounds good to me.” Yes, indeed. It sounds good to me too.

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