memories, mitch albom and making gnocchi

I left my audio copy of Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom at my parents' house months ago, and I waited eagerly until Thanksgiving when they would bring it with them. I got it back on Thursday. I finished it by Sunday. It's a really good book.

You know Mitch Albom mainly from his bestselling book Tuesdays with Morrie. In a similar fashion, Mitch gains wisdom from an elderly rabbi who asks him to write his eulogy. He interweaves inspiring stories of people who made the most of faith in the life they were given... and how that faith, in return, gave them more than they could ask for.

At one point, Mitch asks the rabbi how to make sense of death and how not to be forgotten after one's gone. The rabbi says, in so many words, that the secret to immortality is living on in the memories of one's family, leaving a legacy of wisdom, love and compassion.

Funny he mentioned that.

Maybe an hour or so after hearing that chapter, I was in the kitchen making gnocchi, a pasta made with potatoes, egg and flour. The recipe called for kneading the dough. I thought we had a rolling pin, but I couldn't find it when the dough was ready. So, without even thinking about it, I sprinkled flour onto a clean counter top, plopped the dough down, and began to knead it with my hands.

You might not think much of this, but I hadn't kneaded dough by hand in more than 20 years. It hadn't even been a thought, but I did it instinctively... as if that's the way it's always been done.

It immediately took me back to being a child in the kitchen with my mother. We were making cinnamon rolls or some other type of baked good. As she pushed the dough with the bottom of her palms, flipped it over and pushed again, she would tell me how she saw her mother and grandmother do the same.

So there I was, kneading dough and thinking about my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother. It was kinda like they were there. In a brief flash of immortality, I knew exactly what the rabbi and Mitch were talking about.


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