Monday, May 5, 2008

Sunday Supper: Making Room

Thinking of mortality today as my dad undergoes heart surgery, not the crack-the-chest kind, more of the up-the-femoral-artery variety. Always the push-pull of wanting to be there, but needing to be here. Sobered by the never-too-far reality that my people have struggling hearts. Yet Sunday Supper continued. This time, however, we opened the doors to the breezy deck, added a leaf to the table and made room for new faces, new appetites.

Neighborly Oysters, grilled and served with butter, white wine,
a butt-load of roasted garlic and thyme.

Years ago, rich with New York advertising money, I splurged on a trip to the Yucatan and a fancy resort, flying my parents in to join me so they, too, could be impressed by my success. My mom loves her morning sleep, but my father rises before the sun and, trying to be quiet, dressed quickly and snuck out of the suite. I followed shortly after, also restless. No sign of him on the beach. Or pool. Or restaurant. Not in the spa, the club room, the sweeping veranda. And then I heard his familiar break away laughter. Pushing open an "Employees Only" door to the kitchen, there he was with the cooks, the dishwashers, and a couple maids enjoying a plate of scrambled eggs and regaling his new audience in flawless Spanish. He ate breakfast with the crew every morning after that. It was always this way when we traveled together. A shared supper at the taxi driver's house. An invitation to a lonesome businessman to join our table. His ticker might be flawed, but it was always spacious. He collects people, my father, because every slice of life is interesting to him and he's never doubted the possibility that skin deep, we are all exactly alike.

A lesson learned here in a new town, far from the familiar, where the smiles are not as sunny nor the sky very apparent. The Chef we found at a wine shop. Aussie Girl was picked up in Yoga, along with The Gardener. The Scientists were discovered while hiking the China Creek trail, their dog happily nuzzling our dog. Neighbors were invited, the grill fired up, party shirts ironed. And so it began. The cocktail science of mixing and measuring, stirring and shaking.

The Scientists tossed in a mixed green salad with
roasted beets and candied walnuts.

Ditalinis (God, I love saying that!) with asparagus, grape tomatoes,
pesto, pine nuts and watercress.

Cannelinis, red onion, lots of parsley, eggs and kalamatas tossed with a
splash of lemon, a grassy green olive oil and scallions fresh from the garden.

What you don't see is the Ranger, sweating at the grill, as he marched through Ahi tuna steaks and burgers dressed with sauteed mushrooms, roasted onions and swiss cheese. Or the four dogs underfoot takin' some lovin' wherever they could get it.

Even with a tipple of optimism, most certainly half my life is over. And although world peace was not accomplished, nor a shelf of novels written, or important research contributed...I hope my legacy is this: Second Edition knew how to make room because deep down, we are all exactly alike. And we're always hungry.


Anonymous said...

Open hearts recognize each other, chica. That's my 6 word bio for today.

Erin said...

Hey, who else calls you chica???
A nice "anonymous" this time, eh?
I wish I had been at the table with you. I could have contributed 3 more dogs and, well, a peach pie or two!

Kylita said...

Bless you, and your family, with good thoughts for your father's procedure. I feel very sure he will be doing well. Grief is hard on our bodies, too, you know.
Your dinner and comraderie with others sounds so wonderful and healing, and the dogs ;o)
Thinking of you and sending love.
KLH ^;^

Lisa The Pretty said...

I'm telling are cheating the world of at least one novel written for that shelf. :-)