When I drove out of Albuquerque nearly three years ago, I needed an address -- Homeland Security doesn't like you checking into a hotel without one -- so of course I chose Edward's because the plan was that when I returned from "clearing my head" (I said three months, Edward guestimated a year) I would live with him and his family until I got my own place. He was an engineer, remember. He liked the future mapped out.
Edward wrote me this email exactly three years ago today. He was helping me get the house fixed up so the soon-to-be-X and I could put it on the market.
"You know, I'm a little worried about the float valve on the a/c unit that sits over the living room. It was dripping ever so slightly. Take a moment to see if that one is overflowing.
That valve got all twisted around and the little lever that shuts off the water got bent in the process. It's dripping and overflowing the drain. It should take a few minutes to replace the thing. All we need to do is remove the copper pipe, remove the nut on the outside of the a/c and it should come right out. It's a standard a/c part. If you want, turn off the water in the basement so it doesn't drip and I'll help you replace tonight after work."
Yeah, I know, kind of pedestrian. Most of our emails back and forth were about daily things. But here's the rub. Edward couldn't fix my broken heart because he knew enough to realize that the big stuff had to find its own way, that it was out of his hands, even out of mine. But the small stuff...that he could fix. He had a tool box. And he'd always make me sit up there on the roof with him and hand him the wrenches while he explained exactly what he was doing and why. Then he'd sit back on his heels, satisfied that repairs had been made and ask, "so what's for dinner?"
It was spring. So no doubt it was something good and fresh. The Farmer's Market was just starting up in Downtown Albuquerque, thin yet optimistic. Just like here in Fish Town. Some details are the same everywhere, because Nature only worries about the dailiness of things.
Saturday was the first day and although my favorite vendor didn't make an appearance, I still scrambled and found a tiny head of kale, delicate spring onions, a handful of fragrant basil, thin sticks of asparagus and the most amazingly tender yet hearty-tasting spinach. It was good to see folks we hadn't seen all winter: organic farmers with dirt under their nails from early morning picking, the pig and sheep growers in the clap-trap circus trailer, the bearded salad lady who's still convinced the world is going to end even though George Bush isn't running it anymore, the Chinese guy with the buckets of tulips, and Katie the bread lady. Mostly, it was just nice to hug our friends and neighbors on a blustery day under a blue sky, the salt air whipping our scarves, tilting our hats.
So yes...even though I've been a bit melancholy lately, missing my brother...May was always the start of rock climbing season...I feel the itch in my arms and fingers...I know that spring always clears the webs. Just ask my 83-year-old uncle who got married yesterday. Yup, the bride wore white.
And we stirred the greens. That lovely spinach topped with steamed asparagus bits, crispy pancetta and shallots, cannelini beans, and chives clipped from the garden. Tossed with a grassy green olive oil, ground pepper and red wine vinegar that had been whisked with pancetta grease. Ooops. Forgot the hard boiled eggs. The mushrooms. But then that's why we do it again.
Other signs of Spring...Mia puts on her backpack and hits the trails.