I fell asleep with the television on last night and woke up around three this morning with some guy screaming above the sound of a blender, trying to convince me that I couldn’t go another day without the special “Ninja Blade” technology…it’s cutting and chopping capabilities guaranteed to cut my kitchen time in half.
I lay there wondering why we are so driven to get out of the kitchen. When I was a little girl, growing up in an Italian household, the kitchen was the heartbeat of the house…it was where the drama began and ended and it was always funny even when it was serious. I was the oldest of six children and we had dinner together, with my father holding court at the head of the table. When he got mad the first words out of his mouth were “Jesus MaryandJoseph”. So much so, that when I was little I thought MaryandJoseph was Jesus’s last name. Our kitchen was small and the table with all eight of us around it took up most of the room, so there was no escape if you were under fire for some indiscretion. I don’t ever remember my parents having conversations about our behavior, but they always seemed in sync and when my Dad’s radar was up, my Mother was copiloting right behind him. I was a bit of a smart mouth and my father could smack me and continue eating before I even felt the sting. My Dad never had to yell at us to listen to him. We just knew we should. When he got ready to lecture, he would light a cigarette and use the end of the matchstick to poke around in his ear. One time my brothers were on the skewer for something they did and my Dad sat back to ponder their fate, lighting his cigarette, poking the end of the match in his ear…and setting the side of his head on fire. “Jesus MaryandJoseph!”
The back door of our house was in our kitchen. It was always unlocked and except for a handful of days, there was always someone there. We didn’t have Ninja blade technology…we didn’t even have a dishwasher, because my father said he already had four…my three sisters and I. We fought over who would wash and dry and put away. I don’t really remember being told we had to do it…we just did it…together.
The last time I saw my Dad he was standing at the kitchen door. I drove away too fast, as usual. I can picture him shaking his head. “Jesus MaryandJoseph.”
I live on a large farm east of Nashville. One of my neighbors from up in my holler knocked on my kitchen door this afternoon. She was missing a horse and wondered if I might have seen him.
I tripped and fell down a flight of stairs on New Years Eve, so the last thing I wanted to do was hike across my farm looking for someone else’s horse, but I knew I couldn’t enjoy my pity party on the couch like a black and blue slug, drinking hot chocolate and watching Turner Classic Movies if I didn’t at least make an effort to aid in the search.
My daughter had come by to check up on me in the guise of a free meal. She was also bringing me the book I had sent to her father for Christmas. It was a beautiful hardcover book with pictures of her and her brother from the time they were little until now. I thought it a nice gesture to show how much we had still managed to grow even though we were no longer married. On the front, the kids when they were small, with the caption: Though we no longer fly together….On the back, them at the age they are now with the caption: We still continue to soar….
I had it overnighted to Los Angeles and when my daughter flew out there, she opened the box so she could wrap the book and put it under the tree. She called me laughing hysterically. Apparently there was a…mistake. The front and back of the book were exactly what I had designed, but inside the first page was a young black man holding a baby with the caption, “Our Boo has arrived.” The rest of the pages were filled with the rest of Boo’s black family.
The company is making a new one with the right pictures…I’m keeping the first edition. It’s on my coffee table as we speak and is a true indicator of my life…hilarious.
Anyhow…my daughter and I set out to look for the horse. I was still limping a little, but it was cold and after about ten minutes I couldn’t feel my legs from the knees down anyway. The sun was going in and out of the clouds and it started to snow. It was quiet and pretty and whatever we talked about, I remember laughing…we usually do.
Two creeks and four barbed-wire fences later and we found the runaway hanging out with my herd of misfits. I didn’t have a lead rope with me so we left him there. He’s having a sleepover and his owners will come and get him in the morning. They were so happy and relieved that he was found.
It was too late to make dinner, so we ate salad and chips and when my child walked out the kitchen door she had a bag full of things she stole from my refrigerator, including the variety cheesecake pack that I was planning to eat while I watched the Cary Grant movie marathon that I dvr’d on my t.v.
The sun came out again. She flashed her big smile, her black pony-tail flying and drove away…too fast. Jesus MaryandJoseph.
I’m in my kitchen making cornbread in a glass bowl. Cary Grant will wait.
I made my bed. I didn’t litter. I looked up and I let go. I laughed and I cried and I’m eating cornbread in about fifteen minutes.
Day three hundred and fifty five is done.