Days in the Kitchen

When I woke up this morning, sunlight was blazing in through my closed blinds and the doorbell was being rung incessantly by small grimy fingers. It was Caden from next door. I sort of played with him in the snow yesterday. But when he came round today it wasn’t hardly ten o’clock and I had no intention of gearing up and heading out into the fluff I shovled off the driveway yesterday. No, no, it simply wasn’t going to happen. I let the doorbell ring, heard the screen swing open and the small fist knock against the wood. But I rolled over and decided to catch at least a few more winks since last night I was startled from sleep by my own frightened and strangled yells. It was the first nightmare I’d had in months, but thankfully, I went back to sleep after Caden disappeared. I finally rolled out around ten, didn’t glance at my greasy complexion and headed straight for the basement for a four mile run that left my knees cranky.

And then, there was an adventure to be had in an afternoon of cooking. Chicken soup was first, water boiling and waiting for boullion. Brownies were a quick mix–cake style with an extra egg and some flour to make up for Colorado’s delightful problem with altitude. The soup came together quickly, plenty of scrubbing and dulling of knives on vegetables. My mum made up chicken nuggets, perfectly bite sized for kids. There was homemade bread, honey butter, carrot sticks and powder sugar sprinkled on the brownies cut into the shapes of ducks, flowers and hearts. We packaged it up, two paper bags, with the soup swallowed up by jars that once held spaghetti sauce.

We drove to a friend’s house. We crossed Santa Fe at Hampden headed west towards the mountains. West towards run down, humbler dwellings than the places where I nanny. The cars had rust, I’m sure half the pickups we passed had rebuilt engines–engineered by strong brown hands. My mother looked at me, “are you sure this is right? I feel like we’re back in LA.” I shrugged, this matched the directions from Joy, even if it was leaning a bit away from our normal surroundings. We caught the turn, whipped right, then left, then right again and up a muddy road with gruesome Halloween decorations. We pulled in at the drive next to a white pick up, in front of a plain white house. There was a trail down around the side to the basement apartment. The latch on the gate was stuck. I stood, hands full of bags while my mother leaned over the fence, fiddling with the lock. “I thought, well you know, that we left this all behind years ago,” she said softly, still struggling with the lock but noticing my muddy shoes and the sludge around the gate.

Joy had to run to get her son from the school bus stop. But we stayed with her daughter for a few minutes, taking off our shoes and stripping our coats. When Joy reappeared we went to the kitchen and sat down to tal kfor nearly fourty minutes. It was perfectly wonderful. I haven’t been with someone so real in a very long time. Joy told us how it was, long days without her husband while he’s at work (16 hour shifts!), and the kids being sick, and her being sick, and everything else. But she smiled through it all, said that God was working and was actually genuinely sincere. I mean really, she was honest but not in a complaining way. It was delightful. She was real and the house was lovingly humble and cozy. It makes me want to move that way, where the people are a little less concerned with money and frivolities.

On the way home we went to the post office, khols and ulta, gabbing all the way about our pefect afternoon with such a wonderful family. I mean, truly, I can’t say it enough, it was great to be at home with people who are honest and genuine and even in trusting God, aren’t afraid to tell it like it is.

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My only question for the evening: Why the heck do panties have to cost so much? I’m threadbare on the ones I own, and yet, I can’t imagine paying what it costs to replace them. Not to mention I can’t find any that aren’t entirely whore-ish or screaming 68 year old grandmother! I mean really people. It’s a basic clothing item, and hardly takes any fabric to make. Can’t you make something classy in green? Or even pink? I’d take all pink at this point. But not at $10 a pop. Heck-a no.

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