This is How Memory Works
We met in my senior year of high school, at his high school. Short set-up: my senior year, there were six of us (four seniors, two juniors; four guys, two gals) who needed another year of lab science. My high school offered physical science, which I’d already taken, and biology…and I was not about to dissect a fetal pig, thank you very much. So my high school’s administrators went to his high school’s administrators and proposed that my schoolmates and I attend their chemistry class in exchange for the loan of our band teacher.
Strangely enough, they took the deal. Never did get a band going, though.
Not the dog. The drink.
I follow a blog by a food writer and occasional chef named Michael Ruhlman. I don’t even remember how I found his site now, but I like the way he writes and he has some interesting things to say about food and cooking (as you’d expect). Every Friday, he posts about beverages of the spiritous sort, everything from aged eggnog to new cocktails to the classics. Today, he wrote about a vodka-and-grapefruit-juice cocktail called a greyhound. And I had a rush of memories about a friend who drank greyhounds — only he drank them with gin rather than vodka, as I recall.
Sat down this morning to have breakfast. I’ve been working my way through a stack of recent, and not-so-recent, issues of my landlady’s TIME magazines, because my books are in storage and I haven’t gotten new subscriptions to my favorite mags yet, although if I get any more cheap offers I will. 🙂 Anyway, I enjoy reading while I eat, so TIME it is for the mo’.
In the 9/17/12 issue is an article by Dr. Mehmet Oz called “Goal Power”. In the last column of that article, I read this sentence:
The National Institute of Mental Health published a revealing article in 2010 on the phenomenon known as emotional inertia — a sort of fixed state of depression, low self-esteem, anxiety or other condition that rarely seems to change even in the face of circumstances that warrant change.
My mother would have been 89 years old today. Would have been. I didn’t realize it until later, but the day my car was totaled was the twentieth anniversary of her death.
And all I can think about is how glad I am that she isn’t around to see that I lost the house, that I’m living in a shelter, that my cats are living at the vet’s and that I don’t know how long it will take me to even begin paying him back. Let alone how long it will take me to pay back all the people who’ve kicked in to help keep me afloat the last couple of years, helped me pay for my bankruptcy — there’s a supreme irony in the fact that if you have reached the point of needing to file, you’re too poor to afford to do it — and all the rest of it.
Let’s face it. There’s a big part of me that’s ashamed.
There’s another part, of course, that points out my mom loved me and would never be ashamed of me as long as I was doing my best. And I know it. Another part that reminds me in no uncertain terms that if I’d had any idea this was waiting for me, I’d have made a whole boatload of different choices. And I know that, too. But like that line Julia Roberts’ character says to Richard Gere’s in Pretty Woman, the bad stuff is easier to believe.
Long about 4:30 in the morning, Mom put the beans in the oven.
Two earthenware crocks, a gallon or so each I’d guess. One tallish, about as big around as a salad plate, the other shorter but big around as a dinner plate. Which came in handy, since Mom used an old salad plate — white with a green stripe around the rim — as the lid for the tall crock and a cracked blue willow dinner plate as the lid for the other. A pound of beans apiece, Great Northerns (her preferred bean) or navy beans, picked over for pebbles or broken bits or shriveled specimens and poured into the crocks with water almost to the top of the crock, put to soak about 4:30 the afternoon before.
Soak 12 hours, bake 12 hours in a slow oven. That was Mom’s rule of thumb. Continue reading