Sunday, November 13, 2005

Today's stealth approach involved arriving with a bowl of mashed potatoes topped with (something you might remember from grade school lunches...) chicken fricasee. Now that I look at that, I'm not sure I've ever tried to spell it. You stew a chicken with onions and celery and carrots, bone it, and thicken with cornstarch. Pour it over some sort of starch. This is the dish my mom often cooked to get us back on our feet after being sick. I think I probably wanted to eat it more than he did - maybe I'm confused about who I'm really cooking for. He does eat about a third of it, which is mostly just to please me. Today on the phone I told him point blank that its less tiring to eat than to argue with me. I promptly burst into tears when I hung up. My son peered into my face trying to figure out whether this was one of mom's "sentimental TV moment" tear showers, or if there was something serious going on. There's so rarely something serious that he doesn't quite believe it but asks later, during our soup and bread dinner, for me to "explain it from the start." This is his way of saying, "I need you to tie all this stuff together for me, tell me what happened and what it means." When my mom died, he was too little to understand, and he has forgotten her completely now. I defer to the tests to be done later this week, putting off the full explanation for some doctor to help outline. The split pea and ham soup is salty enough and I'm still wishing I had the leftover chicken fricasee. I tell him I'm emotional because I'm PMS. It's not even a lie. After I dropped off lunch, I stopped at a garage sale in my neighborhood, and ended up purchasing an odd lot of things... an old men's Stetson hat, some kitchen items for a friend who is moving, a couple of handcarved decoys made by the elderly man's father, and the wood carving tools. Jack, who owned the house, was moving because his wife had died and he was not able to live alone any longer. His niece and nephew were helping him with the sale, which basically consisted of giving most of the stuff away rather than having to put it in the waiting dumpster out front. Later, the other friend who is moving showed me the things that belonged to his late mother and father as he unpacked them. All these precious pieces of people, their echoes in cloth and wood, leather and steel, home cooked meals.

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