01 août 2005

Wishbones (Part One)

I recently stumbled upon my mother’s wishbone collection. I was lazily doing dishes in my parents’ condo, and my eyes traveled to the many little trinkets on the windowsill that characterize Mom’s kitchen: the yellow-glazed double-bowled garlic holder I brought back from Provence, a couple small potted herbs badly needing water, the hanging Hungarian “kitchen witch” doll… and a cup full of old, dry chicken bones. It didn’t strike me as unusual that my mother would have the odd wishbone sitting on the sill from a recent dinner. But the cup contained at least ten bones, and unless my parents had had dined on poultry every night for the past two weeks, those bones had been there for a while. Was she secretly hording the bones for a bizarre chicken ritual that she’d adopted while I’d been away? I doubted it. She had probably absent-mindedly, and out of habit, saved the bones without realizing that there was a whole stock of wishes waiting to be cracked open. Yet I couldn’t help wondering why she continues this ritual, long after her last little chicken has left the coop. Do she and my dad really sit around cracking bones and making wishes? Is this something they look forward to with delight? Perhaps they’re saving up for one blowout night of bone-crackin’, wish-makin’ fun. Maybe they’re going to sell the bones to neighborhood children for cash. Who knows what kids will grind up and snort these days.

I’m going to investigate. I’ll get back to you with my findings in Part Two.

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