Mother thinks my kitchen is a deli.  She always checks my kitchen counter for a biscuit to go with her coffee when she comes in the back door.  At the end of every visit, she snags another to take home for a snack as well as raiding  the fridge before leaving.  I caught this picture of her leaving yesterday.  You see the eggs in her hand.  In her hobo’s bundle, she has a container of fruit salad, another of turkey salad, and a piece of pound cake.  Last week she had a surprise lunch guest and couldn’t wait to tell me what a fine lunch she’d whipped up: turkey and dressing, canned fruit, and cake. It was my home-canned turkey, my home-made dressing, and sour cream pound cake.  I do believe she had to spring for the peas.  I’ll bet she never breathed a word of where all that food came from.  Of course, she had a plate of my pickled veggies on the side.

Anyway, that is not the story I set out to tell.  For Mother, leaving is a process.  First, she announces she’s leaving and gathers her gleanings from my kitchen.  Then, I go out to turn her car around and take the first load of stuff.  She follows to watch.  She has a little trouble backing out around our vehicles and camper trailer.  She keeps an eagle eye on me, then heads back to use the bathroom one last time before heading that long seven miles home, or wherever is next on her agenda.  She has to pet Buzzy a bit and hunt Bud up from wherever he’s escaped to say “Goodbye,” because she might not see him for a day or two.  Then she has two get a drink of water and talks a minute on the way out.  Sometimes she gets all the way to the car before remembering she’s left her jacket, phone, or maybe an obituary or newspaper article she brought to show me.  That necessitates a little more visiting.  Eventually, she makes it all the way to her car.  It’s not over yet!  Finally settled in, she makes a phone call or two before hitting the road, unless she’s forgotten to tell me something and has to come back in for a minute.  Her average leaving time is eleven minutes, though it’s not unusual to take thirteen.  She’s so little she has to sit on three cushions!