Friday, January 4, 2008

Food, Family, Walk

Still chewing a snap pea, I rinsed the last of the

Thai leftover rice and lemon wedge down the disposal,

recalling the Tee-shirt I bought, as a joke for Peter,

“Visualize Whirled Peas.” Pete hated peas.

Still does, I think – even in Indian rice, where

they’re mostly there for color and punctuation.

Pete showed me how to make perfect popcorn

in a Whirly Popper and how to make scones

from scratch for breakfast. My older brother,

John, made me my first burrito. I was 27,

married, living in Coconut Grove, Florida.

How had I lived without Mexican food?

And where did my brothers learn to cook?

Growing up, they were only around at dinnertime,

for the pre-dinner wrestling match, on the living

room floor, when they called each other names

like fag or weakling ‘til they were a tornado of

arms and legs. We girls watched or got out of the way,

‘til Mom appeared and gave everyone chores, like “Go

finish your homework,” “Clear the table,” “Bring up a

can of asparagus,” (or beans, or a load of laundry) from

the basement. The Cellar. There were no risers in the back

of the stairs to The Cellar. I hated those open-backed steps.

I hated canned mushy vegatables. I hated frozen vegetables

too. I hated meat even more. I lived for the nights Mom made

spaghetti with her home-made sauce or baking powder biscuits.

Other than that, I lived for desserts — cookies, mostly. I spent

my allowance on dark chocolate covered Mounds bars, never

on milk chocolate Three Muskateers. It was a good half mile

walk to Gunther’s Grocery. We walked everywhere back then.

We walked to school, to our friends’ houses, to church, to the

playground, to the ponds in the woods, to the lake. Summer,

Winter, Spring and Fall we walked. We walked for years.

We’re still walking. When we all get together for Easter,

Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, after dinner,

we put on our sneakers and coats, file out the door

and we walk.


bgoettel said...

You brought back lots of memories from Farrell Terrace. I have a clear memory of walking up those cellar stairs with you when we were 5 or so. I remember being terrified of those open-backed stairs.

I don't think I could count all the times I walked to Gunther's, at least once a day in the summer to get a bottle of pop. During the rare times I visit Rochester, I always park and walk around the old neighborhood.

elainehev said...

Bruce, Is that you -- my old childhood pal? Where are you? Send me your email or address and I'll send you a copy of my book, if you like. Send my warmest regards to your family.