My story keeps getting bigger. Big enough now to see that it is many stories. You, the reader, could help me out. You could tell me, comment about, which aspect sounds interesting, what you’d like to hear. I’m not going to try to do any sort of chronological story telling, but just throw out ideas and memories as they come. Create a hodgepodge of small stories that all link together into the larger whole.
My house is full of men right now, a rarity in my home. Henry, my brother has been here for nine days and my son, Adrian has been here for 2 days and my friend Will will be here today. It’s an interesting time for me. I keep thinking “why don’t you all help me out here with all this cooking and cleaning… these mountains of dishes?” then I remind myself they are working hard every day cutting trees, hauling brush, doing small chores that are within my ability but difficult for me to do. And I happily cook another meal, wash another pile of dishes, and rejoice in the few moments sitting on the sofa, at their encouragement, while they do a few small tasks in the kitchen.
Having a house full of people is usually a stressful time for me even when it is planned and fun. I am nuts about keeping everything tidy and clean, but this last year I’ve been working on letting go of some of that and relaxing more. This visit has been fun. Especially last night… I found myself smiling and laughing and being really happy having this part of my family hanging out.
Henry and Adrian had worked hard all day on the yard weed eating and picking up branches from the ice storm. I had massaged all day which is a hard job in itself. Together the three of us morphed the thawed chicken into a casserole that no one objected to. Having three dozen farm fresh eggs on hand and more on the way I suggested deviled eggs. The hearty response was positive to that. So I asked if they would each eat 2. Uhh… hello! They wanted me to cook a dozen! Really? Yes a dozen. They figured they could eat more than that but didn’t want to eat up all my eggs.
So, the chicken rice casserole with whole mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic and that celery stuff I grow (all cut in large enough pieces for each to pick out any objectionable pieces) into the oven the cast iron skillet went. Then a dozen eggs were put on to cook.
Now let me interject some trivia here. I have a life long, at least life long in the sense of the word of Adrian’s adult life, that I will always have home made chocolate chip cookies when Adrian visits, and most recently that they will be in the vintage Sesame Street cookie jar, Bert, I think. But Adrian’s visit was spur of the moment and I hadn’t properly prepared. He was a little disappointed to say the least about finding the cookie jar empty, so I had brought chocolate chips and brown sugar home with me this afternoon.
Now he was getting antzy about how long it would be before they were actually made. He kept cautiously stepping closer to the kitchen, then taking a few tentative steps into the invisible boundary. Realize this is two men, my son and brother, who have a Grandmother and a mother respectively who completely banishes anyone from her kitchen, but that’s another story. Needless to say he was cautious about getting in there and risking a smack with a wooden spoon. Henry on the other hand was safe on the sofa out of harms way.
I’m flying around the kitchen tidying up after the casserole construction and out of politeness Henry offers to peel the eggs when they get done. I surprisingly accept. Adrian gets brave and tentatively picks up a stick of butter from the counter I have softening for the cookies. I find it a funny loving even longing gesture on his part.
“Would you like to put that butter in a bowl for me Adrian.” I say.
“Sure!” was his hearty response. Anything to expedite the creation of cookies.
I get the bowl out and he slowly but surely steps into the roll of cookie maker. I wonder at the possibility these cookies won’t be from me. He had to make them himself, what will that do to the little cookie dance we always do when he visits. But he seems to be enjoying himself working alongside me in the kitchen.
I’m done with the washing and the eggs are ready to cool and peel. So Henry gets in the kitchen with us and I am left with not really much to do. Men, plural, working in my kitchen is a totally foreign event.
“I think I’ll just sit on the sofa a few minutes while you two do this” I hesitantly say.
“Yea Mom, take a break for a while.”
“Yea have a seat Sarah.”
So I do. I curl on in my favorite corner and gaze at them happily, without any fuss and a minimal mess… actually they are quite neat, working away at a steady pace that I could probably learn a lesson from. A smile comes to my face and I long for my cameral. I don’t know if or when this event will present itself again.
“Can I use your camera Adrian?” as I spy it on the coffee table.
This gets me a bit of a face… and some very specific instructions about putting the strap around my neck BEFORE I do anything else. I’m happy to oblige. I know how much pride he takes in his belongings.
They ham it up for me and I get some candid shots of the two of them working away in my kitchen; Adrian carefully measuring the ingredients for the chocolate chip cookies and reading the directions every step of the way; Henry methodically peeling farm fresh eggs which, as you may or may not know, is a chore I was more than happy not to do!
Adrian finished up and I asked, “How are those eggs coming Henry, do you have the first one done yet?” Everyone laughed because we all know peeling fresh eggs is almost impossible as they shells stick mercilessly to the egg white and only come off in little tiny nibs.
He laughed, and said, “Not bad, actually I’m almost half way done.” Adrian looked in the bowl to see if he was pulling our legs and sue enough he reported they were almost half done. Great progress. I was really enjoying the evening.
When he was done peeling, I was left to “fix em up”. This is the difficult part. How to make them so all parties were happy. I have a family with distinct and unique tastes. Henry who apparently has no taste buds whatsoever, likes everything to be mega spiced and doesn’t like anything too overly adventurous. Adrian is a little hesitant about spices and new ingredients but has often been surprising me with his ability to step out of that box.
We settled on miracle whip and salt and pepper only. Had to have paprika on top of course. I filled a few and suggested a taste test. They were good but could stand some more pizzaz. They were both willing to try my favorite curry powder in a small amount then agreed when all but two of the egg halves were gone that the curry was a definite win.
They, ok we, ate all but those last two egg halves, almost overcooked the chicken and baked two pans of chocolate chip cookies, which were mighty fine by the way, and ate most of them. The conversation rolled on late into the night as we regaled Adrian with tales of old, just like when Henry and I were kids and the old folks sat around telling tales. Adrian took his share of turns adding his own to the mix. I hopped we weren’t boring him to tears with our “when I was a kid” stories.
I longed for the rest of my family last night, and I longed to write the stories we had shared. I realized just how many stories there might be, more than I can imagine. Many more. If I get a fraction of them written I will consider my endeavor successful.