Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lessons from Mom and Dad

We just had our first snowfall last night.
Naturally, I'm fishing a post out of last summer. I wrote this one June afternoon and never published it.  But since I'm feeling risky and lazy tonight, (two motivations that are actually very difficult to pull off simultaneously) I'm clicking the publish button now.  Revisiting early summer to warm up my dark winter night.
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I just finished a ham salad sandwich, so naturally I'm thinking about my dad. My dad was the first to introduce me to ham salad and we have been good friends ever since. I must confess: when I first saw the sandwich he expected me to eat, I balked. Acceptable sandwiches included peanut butter and were made with white or wheat bread. This creation was pink mortar thickly spread between black slices of - well, could it be bread? Bread is not black unless it burned. What was this sub-standard fare my father was trying to entice me to consume? 
Honestly, if I wasn't so desperate to impress my dad, I very much doubt that I would have ever tasted that ham salad on pumpernickel sandwich or ever learned to how to check the oil in my car.  I am pretty sure my relationship with ham salad is on better footing than my relationship with oil gauges.  Thankfully, I get along with dear old Dad even better than ham salad.  In fact, I would give up both pumpernickel AND ham salad if he needed such sacrifice from me.  That's a lot of love.

Today I put two slices of lettuce on there too, not because I particularly love lettuce, but because we have a plethora [Would you say I have a plethora...? Oh, yes. You have a plethora.] of it growing right now and I cannot find people to come take it, no matter how much I beg!
I'll be back in a few hours, when this-just-finished statement is expired, because right now one child is asking (twice) "When am I going to get my goldfish?" and three more children are waiting to be picked up from piano lessons... Wait! Maybe the piano teacher would take some lettuce.  Maybe I won't ask her, just show up with a plastic shopping bag full.

And that strategy actually worked! One less meal of salad in our garden!
Do I sound ungrateful?
I am not. Really.
But unless I stock a salad bar for 100 people, there is no way our little-big family will consume all of our lettuce before it is overripe and has gone to seed.  It actually does go to seed. So that expression works in this situation.  It does not go to pot, as that is a drug reference, I believe.
I could be wrong.  I am not a big expert on the drug culture.  My marijuana education didn't expand much beyond Nancy Reagan's Just say No and my mother's knowing looks as I complained about a strange, sickly-sweet odor as we drove through some ramshackle areas of Appalachia.

My mother may not have taught me much about drugs, but she did show me how to dash Worcestershire with a liberal hand.  Have you ever noticed "Worcestershire" is almost as hard to write out as it is to pronounce? I'm in love with the English Language, but not so much so that I don't see its faults.  Through an extensive exhaustive Google search, I just discovered that I've been saying it wrong my whole life.  At least the portion of my life in which Lea & Perrins played a major condiment role, which would be only the last 30 years or so.  In correct British tones it sounds like "Wooster-shir," exactly as it is spelled, yes? No? I've been saying "Wer-stir-sheer," which also doesn't look like the spelling, but sounds like my mother.  A lot of what I've been saying lately sounds like my mother: "Unload the dishwasher" and "Feed the cats and dog" and "Put away your laundry" and "I said unload the dishwasher!"

After years of soul-searching, I have determined what my love language is: DISHES.  If anyone needs to express love for me in a way I will quickly understand, washing the dishes (especially after dinner) might just move me to tears. Is it wrong that I occasionally force my children to love me?  I know that they want to love, but the emotions are buried under the crusted-on food and the still-to-be-unloaded dishwasher.  Helping them is helping me.  It's all good.

Another way I willingly express love is doing laundry. A whole lot of this has been going on around here lately.
You may not recognize it, but this takes more careful planning than one might think. While it is not necessary to wear your t-shirts in ROYGBIV order, it is important to make sure that you don't leave a particular color out of the line up  So if it's Thursday and you have yet to wear an orange shirt because that color doesn't really look good on anyone, it's time to evaluate your commitment to this rainbow laundry project. Maybe you need to go for a run jog  walk, or clean the bathroom, or engage in some sort of sweat-raising activity.  These provide the perfect opportunities to wear the t-shirts that you'd rather no one see you in.  If you find yourself grabbing whatever shirt is on the top of the stack, you are probably not the person doing the laundry in this house. If you find that you've worn too many blue shirts this week (this is a problem I often have) just find yourself a slab of pumpernickel, smother it with ham salad (if possible) and consider what my father would say in this situation: actually, he probably would never find himself in this situation, and he's a man of few words so he probably wouldn't say anything.  Just eat the sandwich, offer a shrug and move on.

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