The Freckled Key Photography is a Houston TX lifestyle photographer.
When you walked in through the back door, feeling both energized and a little tired after Sunday church, the warmth and smell of pot roast and monkey bread roasting and baking in the oven made your shoulders rise as you breathed it all in, then immediately relax as you exhaled with a soft smile. A florescent light hung from the ceiling, with natural light coming in from the small window above the sink. Voices, laughter, wide grins, coming from all directions belonging to both family and friends, a minimum of 15 but on a typical Sunday close to 25 people would fill that house. These were the smells, sights, and sounds of my Mema (Maxine, my daughter’s namesake) and Papa’s kitchen in the small town of Hearne, TX. My home away from home from 1986 to 2000.
I spent every summer perched up on that white laminate counter top – the one that Mema would scribble on furiously with a pencil (no notepad) as she held the brown corded wall phone between her ear and right shoulder (“Uh huh, oh uh huh”… scribble, scribble, scribble) – waiting patiently for Mema to let me dump in the sugar, but more so to lick those sticky, chocolate chip dotted, batter-filled beaters. My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth while simultaneously crunching those chocolate nuggets with my not-then-cavity-filled teeth.
Fast-forward about 27 years. I’m 29 years old, married. I have a 16 month old daughter (today!) and a kitchen to call my own. It rarely smells of pot roast and warm monkey bread, but it does have a flood of natural light. The voices and laughter you will hear on the day to day come from three – me, Scott, and her, our Maxine.
It’s summertime around here, and in keeping with my summer traditions of the late 80s and early 90s, we made chocolate chip cookies. She’s perched up on our white counter top, I’m going between my phone to check the recipe (and respond to an occasional text) and the bowl to dump in flour (but I’ll be darned if I write on those white counter tops!), and she waits – not so patiently – to dump in the sugar and lick those sticky, chocolate chip filled beaters.
Fresh out of the oven, I ask Maxine if she’s ready for her first cookie. Her response?
I think it’s an enthusiastic “YES!!”
I’ll end with this image of me, circa 1988. I’m in my Mema and Papa’s kitchen in that small Texas town, held by my Mema licking the batter with gusto!
Batter and stir,