Monday, December 12, 2005
Echoes and Reverberations
--George Bernard Shaw
Oh the Clydesdale is tired today. It was a busy weekend because all of our weekends are busy. Just cuz.
Saturday MZA, Ian and Nick manned the Christmas tree sale at Nick’s school whilst Daisy and I had quality time together. Sort of parallel quality time, as I scoured the bathroom and she watched Dora. The boys came home, I made lunch, then we put the babies to bed and Nick had to lie down too because he had a slight fever. This meant we didn’t have to drive him to an aquatic amphitheatre in Laurel, Maryland for a birthday party.
I went to the enormo grocery store and got massive ingredients for fudge and coffee cake and chili and I don’t know what else. I came home and morphed into a white tornado and made two coffee cakes, a double recipe of my Christmas fudge (marshmallows, dried cranberries and whole almonds), 2 alarm chili in the slow cooker and quesadillas for the kids. And caviar pie for Sheila’s holiday party. INSANE! And I loved it. I made the caviar pie in a yin yang pattern, as I do every year.
See, Moira and I went to this party one time down on Capital Hill. There were hallucinogens involved, but the less said on that the better. Anyway, we kind of crashed the party, as we were wont to do in those days. The girl that was having it wasn’t very nice (imagine that!). There was this really cool bed in a loft area with an entire skylight over the bed and there was a really neat photograph of a husky that I think Moira’s brother took, AND there was this crazy caviar pie which was the best damn thing I have ever had. They also had flavored vodka that they were serving in little etched colored shot glasses. I am not particularly proud of this, but for some reason, in my “altered” state, I felt that it was necessary to “liberate” the little colored glasses from the mean hostess. Honestly. Like I was “saving” them or something.
It was New Year’s Eve. And I remember dancing and then afterwards Moira and I drove across Memorial Bridge—several times—as the sun came up. We were in my 1970 VW Bug and Moira was standing up on the seat with her head through the sun roof. We were 18 or 19.
So anyways, for some weird reason, the shot glasses and the caviar pie stayed with me and one day I typed in “caviar pie” on epicurious.com and up it came. Seriously! I made the zany thing and it turned out just like Mean Lisa’s!
Sunday was “Scout Sunday” and you know what that means!!! Mandatory church attendance with my li’l scout. And because I was feeling reckless, I took Ian too. Nick was REALLY nervous about it. Of course, just because he goes against type with everything, he was a perfect angel in church. Except he had to mess with the kneeling apparatus, because every kid in the entire universe has to mess with that thing. He clung to me and basically, he was so damn thrilled to have me ALL TO HIMSELF for 50 minutes, that he didn’t really care what the venue was.
Nick and the other scouts came in with the priest and the altar kids. It’s so emotional for me. Go figure. To see my son in the processional. They sit in reserved pews and Nick loves it. I went up for communion and the priest blessed Ian. Then we went home.
Barbara and Marie invited us over for savory small pies and a drink and then we got in our sled (figuratively) and whisked off to Sheila’s annual holiday party, which is the most splendid event of the season. It is when Charles Dickens comes out to play and the whole spirit and feeling of the late 19th century is reenacted. People come from all over and from all walks of life, ages, interests, etc. and Sheila’s table literally groans--not with food, that sounds so pedestrian-- victuals is more appropriate. Hot artichoke and crab dip, Virginny ham and biscuits, a rich strata, cookies, fudge, venison, cheeses, caviar pie.
The holiday party is a chance to see the same people—the people that we see once a year, or maybe twice. The kids love it and instantly fold into the house and all know each other from year to year. Jon beams and brags about how he didn’t do anything, Sheila flits around delightedly. It’s just so fun. Because, I think, Sheila puts her whole heart into it. Which made me think about Iago a little bit and how sometimes there’s someone on the fringes and you can just feel that they are not experiencing the happenings in the same way. And then there were the moments where I was standing, talking to someone, and I thought, here it is, this is life. Like: quickly right now, this is life. Happening. All at once. Amid spices and flavors and aromas and children and GLUGG.
Glugg is a rich naughty Icelandic blend of Aquavit, burned sugar, cardamom, whole figs, slivered almonds, vodka and red wine.
We all get together with these potions and spells and recipes and feelings and recreations and we evolve. I’ve been pregnant at that party, I’ve had small babies at that party, and last night I had all three kids, running up and down the stairs they once couldn’t scale. Sheila’s parents used to invite my parents up the street for Glugg every year. Sheila’s son and my son (Ian) body slammed a sweet woman on the couch together.
It was time to go home and none of us wanted to leave. Lots of rich colors, tapestries, old statues, gilt mirrors, echoes and reverberations. |
Cynicism is another word for reality