Sunday, October 11, 2020

Fall is in the air

My gorgeous daughters
in a very blue light

It may be 95 as I write, at four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, but this morning as I waited for the teakettle to sing to me, I stared out the window, watching several leaves drift slowly out of the trees. I think it is supposed to turn much cooler tomorrow. With my usual bad sense of timing, I made a pot of chili for supper. I offered to change the menu, suggested meatloaf, but Christian opted for the chili. It’s Cincinnati chili, sometimes known as Skyline, and is a real departure for me. Curious? You can read about it in “Gourmet on a Hot Plate” this coming Thursday.

It’s been a quiet weekend. Jordan has gone to Austin for a belated celebration of Megan’s 50th with some of M’s girlfriends. She plans to stay over tonight and return in the morning. Early Saturday morning, we had joint mammogram appointments—sort of like mother-and-daughter dresses but not quite. At her insistence, we went to the clinic she has used for years. I had never been there. Made a mental note to dig out my insurance card—and that was the last time I thought about it until I walked in the clinic door. They would not take my word that I would call in the information. I had to reschedule, which bummed me out because I’d gotten up earlier than usual to be there—and the new appointment is even earlier on a Saturday.

I don’t get out much, as everyone knows, so I was truly impressed at the social distancing respect I saw. When any woman walked through the clinic doors, she stood back, waiting until the patient at the desk had moved away and the receptionist motioned. I did not see one person without a mask. If everyone would follow these two guidelines, we’d squash this damn virus. Makes me so angry at the whole darn Republican party, though I know there are a few mask wearers among them. Still, trump is the worst, and why is Lindsey Graham refusing to be tested?

Quarantine hit me in another way today. For more years than I care to count, I have belonged to a monthly breakfast group called the “Book Ladies” (we’d have welcomed men, but none seemed inclined to join us). We have not met since March, and today’s reminder said that the café where we normally meet is open for inside service. But like a chorus, all of us said we are not ready to eat in a restaurant. Online we don’t get the good exchange of book news that we always shared.

I miss restaurant meals. Food never tastes as good when it travels from the restaurant to home, and we have pretty much decided we like what we fix at home better. Christian, Jacob, and I had take-out last night, courtesy Jean, but that was mostly so we could eat on the patio and share a meal with Jean. It’s not restaurant food I miss—it’s the sharing of meals, the fellowship that implies. How to put that feeling into words is much on my mind because I will be on a Zoom panel this week about culinary mysteries at Bouchercon, the annual huge fan con which has had to go virtual this year. I’m struggling to say succinctly why I am turning more and more to food writing—and I know it somehow has to do with caring and sharing. I don’t think I’ll get all Biblical and talk about loaves and fishes, but there is a spiritual element to it.

And, for me, that’s one good thing about quarantine. We eat together as a family most night—the Burtons come to the cottage. Either I have made supper, or they bring it. I was pretty good at planning meals for one—and there are some things they won’t eat that I would like to fix for me. But that’s all outweighed by the sense of family we get in sharing meals. My mom always told me all things work to some good end, and perhaps that is the good she would see in quarantine.

Sweet dreams, all!

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