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A Proper Bake

(by Ann Stout)

Neither my daughter Emma nor I wanted to move back to Texas. I was born and raised in the flatlands of Houston, and happily left for the West Coast when I was 29. (I was ready to trade in my cowboy boots for hiking shoes and eschew mountains of barbecue in search of the crunchy lifestyle I longed for ever since I saw my first Euell Gibbons commercial for Grape-Nuts cereal.) Emma was born and raised in the hills of Oregon, and cried when we uprooted her at 14. But my husband’s (her dad’s) new job and my aging father (her grandfather) pulled us back like cattle to the stockyard.

I drove her to and from her new school over familiar old streets domed to shed the water from the sudden thunderstorms. Never in her young life had she experienced such a deluge. It was easier for me to take the high road with my car than with my conversation. She complained about the newness of it all—her school, the weather, the people, and the food. I listened, silently agreed, and swallowed my own anger and unhappiness about the old.