I can still see my mother kneading bread on the white floured counter, a kind of meditation – hers and now mine in memory of it. I remember she hummed as I sat by the counter on a tall stool asking questions she never tired of answering. We would test every packet of yeast with sugar and warm water. As the morning progressed, her hands began tossing more flour onto the counter, then kneading some more – ridding the dough of air bubbles. Then after the dough rose in a bowl, she would punch it down twenty times and allow it to rise again. Ultimately, she would shape the loaves, tucking under, tucking under, pinching beneath and settling her bundles into the butter greased bread pans to rise one final time. Once they had risen, the tops would be sliced in three places at an angle then buttered before baking. These loaves would be gifts for the neighbors along our street for the holidays. They were always wrapped with plastic wrap and tied with a red bow along with date nut bread or cranberry-orange bread. And she would deliver them herself when I was at school where I never learned as much about life and giving love as I did in my mother’s kitchen.