I Believe in Miracles

I Believe in Miracles
Moldavia, Romania

by Virginia Popescu

I have my first clear memories from a very young age — I was about three years old back then. I still see my mother, under the old walnut tree, carefully holding a soft boiled egg in her left hand, and in her right hand she held a wooden spoon.

Under the walnut, there was a long table with two benches on each side. On one of them, we used to sit down, the three of us kids, waiting for the Holy Communion, with our mouths wide open and staring at the wonderful egg.

In the middle of the table, on a wooden platter, a yellow maize porridge was shining in all majesty, sliced with a thread.

“Did you get porridge?” Mom was asking us, standing. “Yes,” we were all answering in one shout.

That’s when the ritual started. With the spoon handle, Mom was taking a bit of the white of the egg and a bit of the yolk, carefully feeding her starving children.

This was all happening after the Second World War, which had brought, together with all the other disasters, a terrible famine to Moldavia. My mother told us that the people who had a few sacks of corn in their barns were considered wealthy.

“You’ve had enough?” She was asking us, with a voice that wouldn’t have accepted any comments, and we were all answering as in the army: “Yes!”

Then, her face was glowing with happiness.

I see her clearly, a sacred image. Thin, pale, with big black eyes, with her dark hair swept back. I wonder now, after all these years, what my mother and father were eating. Maybe the rest of maize porridge left on the wooden platter.

Later on I read in the New Testament the episode of the five loaves of bread and of the five fish, without being too surprised by this miracle.

I always thought the egg that my mother was using to feed her three children was more amazing.

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Collective Writing Projects curated by Zee Zahava

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