Even telling all that stuff yesterday I still didn’t tell everything about the day I’d had Tuesday. Didn’t say that I played the part of Lucius in a reading of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (“Call’d you, my lord?”) or that I took our elderly uncle out to sit by the pond, or that I came out of somebody’s house at 10:30 at night to find my car utterly gone and towed…. But more on all that later.
When I woke at 5 yesterday morning it was to the sound of rain.
Nothing makes me happier than rain drumming on the little roof outside our bedroom window, wetting the rocks on the stone wall by the driveway.
I was happy too because it meant the painters wouldn’t be coming. (The last time we had this old place painted I was breastfeeding and spent whole weeks ducking from room to room looking for a place where the newborn and I would perhaps NOT be surprised by the sudden appearance at the window of a pleasant male stranger on a ladder.) They’re lovely, these new painters, but they do arrive early and there they are too, at the windows at quarter past seven.
Not yesterday though and what a break. At 8am I opened the back door contemplating a quick walk around the block but by then it was raining even harder.
I thought of Abe and Charlotte, our two nice cats, off in Heaven now hunting for field mice. They looked upon a rainy day as a chance to perfect their impersonation of two bath mats, one black and one gray.
Here they are the day our kids gave them to us, as a surprise on our 25th anniversary.
It’s a gift cats have, the way they can stretch out anywhere and lick their paws. I once knew a couple of cats who napped in the sink.
I’d like to to start being more like them and when I wake up at 5 to learn to close my eyes, smile that feline smile and drop back into sleep.
So people don’t like peas that much. This I gather from reaction to my question here yesterday about the most hated childhood dishes. They also dislike brussel sprouts, and really anything in the cabbage family. (Do you know you can’t eat cabbage and broccoli and such if you’re breast-feeding? If you do your baby will draw up its legs and howl with stomach pain. You can’t have a whole lot of chocolate either or the child will be flying around the room like this baby in Gary Larson’s famous Bellybutton Slipknot cartoon. (See left. We miss you, Mr. Far Side! )
Myself I try not to focus on things I dislike. Still, I’ll never forget the first time and only time our mother gave us lobster. It was even more expensive then than it is now and for sure it was WAY beyond the range of what our little family usually ate. And here our mom had gone out and bought it for the ‘young hooligans’ as she sometimes called us. Bought it, boiled the big pot of water, committed the horrific act of murder-by-scalding, then cracked the lone lobster open and set out the melted butter.
This is how Nan looked around the time of this experiment.
This is how I looked.
Mom might have guessed we could never measure up to the high gastronomical bar she was setting for us.
Nan took her first bite and went “Ewww!! Ack!” I took a bite and turned a kind of purple plaid.
“Terry’s going to faint again!” Nan cried. (I was a tireless fainter: in church at the doctor’s office, during flag-raising ceremonies in school. And i really did turn a kind of mottled color just before I went sheet-white and keeled over backwards.
But I didn’t faint. I ran from the room, hightailing it after Nan who had scooped up the fanciest wastebasket in the house, made from a kind of elegant rigid ricecloth, and spit the half-masticated lobster bite into it. I watched it slither down inside the wastebasket and turned more of a Madras this time. Then I threw up all over my little sneakers, a pair of red P.F Fliers if memory serves.
The next night we were back to nursery food, an ectoplasm of soft-boiled egg, a little toast, and a side order of canned spinach. And for the rest of my childhood every time I looked at that wastebasket I thought guiltily of Mom’s gallant effort to introduce us to a higher kind of living.
Maybe fine food is like a Thomas Hardy novel: you have to get to a certain age before you can enjoy it.