|"I'm OUTTA here!"|
"I'm Outta Here!"
Though HappyDay Farms is spread out over two parcels, and has significant gardens in five different locations, we all manage to converge for the midday meal, served at the original farm house, the one in which the boys were raised.
What we really need is one of those steel triangles, like the one used in the western film “Lonesome Dove,” to summon all ranch/farm hands to the feed trough, in our case, the dining room table. It would be heard everywhere; of that there can be no doubt.
As it is, circumstances dictate the time of the meal, based on market days and however many warm bodies will be at the table, and Annie goes with the flow. A meal such as yesterday’s, a Mexican-styled barbecued chicken salad, with its aesthetically appealing appearance battling with our taste buds for attention, is a classic example of Annie’s vast experience in these matters.
|Looking at this pic, one would NEVER suspect.|
Too busy to be able to simply prepare the meal on a more conventional schedule, she started the barbecue about 7:30 yesterday morning, in order to prepare the boneless, skinless chicken breast meat for the salad. I was out back, dead-leafing, when I smelled the smoke.
Upon investigation, I found the barbie already fired up. While the coals were burning down, she was able to chop and dice the rest of the ingredients for the meal, and whip up the dressing. This is where the Mexican part of the salad comes in, because the dressing is a cilantro-based recipe, a white blanket of goodness that simultaneously cools matters down, while igniting an explosion of flavors in one’s mouth.
Having fresh salad greens heightens the culinary adventure, one already so infused with deliciousness, that fresh tomatoes are deemed unnecessary except as a side dish. The room-temperature pitcher of fresh spring water, is filled and ready to be poured into the green pint Mason jars, which are replaced in their rack on the dining room table, after they have been washed.
The farm-hands mosey in from various directions, scrub down, and then swarm. I stay out of the way, preferring at all times to take a back seat. I eat, if and when I determine that all working Janes and Joes will get fed first. I can always scrounge-I am a master at it, especially since it always begins with a quick blitz through the garden for tomatoes, apples, a lingering lemon cucumber, and whatever else strikes my fancy.
Conversation is inevitably lively and yesterday was no exception. After bashing The Donald mercilessly for his vulgar words and intentions, we moved on to an infinitely more palatable discussion, though one which also touched on unruly behavior.
This headstrong performance was brought to us by none other than Small Boy, a moniker attached to Nathaniel, aka Lito, since he was a young boy who was anything but small. Maybe that is why it seemed natural that we would make the decision to go ahead and start him in kindergarten only ten days after his fifth birthday.
I mean, the little guy was as sharp as marbles and we figured, why not give him the boot out of the house, so as to free up Annie for volunteer work in the different classrooms? We had been talking up this scenario to Lito all summer long, and he was all gung-ho to give it a go.
[Editor's note: "Give him the boot?" Could we try, "Why not provide for the little tyke, the educational opportunity of a young lifetime?" Just saying.]
That is, until he found out that Mama was not a part of the package. I mean, he had been told all of this, but there was a disconnect somewhere, one which played out in the elementary/middle school staff room one September morning, way back in school year 1990. Coincidentally, this was also my first year as a full-time teacher in the middle school.
|Official "mug" shot|
Annie might have been in Susan Bradley’s class with Ben, or she may have been in Jane Puritan's class with Casey, but wherever she was, she got a phone call from Principal Matlock, he of the descriptive eyebrows and ever-present smile.
Mr. Matlock would exude hospitality and benevolence while conducting your own execution.
Whatever was said to Annie on the phone, she flew in the side door of the staff room, to find Lito doing his best imitation of Hurricane Matthew, 26 years before the fact. Specifically, he was scrambling around the cramped room, knocking chairs over and pulling mail out of the district employees’ cubbies.
He had already cleared the expansive staff room table of everything that had been deposited there, binders and books strewn around on the tiled floor, as if finally free on a long-awaited field trip.
Assessing the situation at a glance, and regretting that she had not been able to foresee this tantrum, all she could do was make a beeline for Small Boy, who put up a gallant fight. This included a last-ditch dive under the table to the other side, where the same debris that he had scattered, finally trapped him long enough for Annie to grab an ankle.
Triumphantly she glanced up at Mr. M, who paused no longer than an eyebrow flutter or two, before drawling laconically, “Well, I donnnnnnnn’t think he’s ready for kindergarten, yet.”
Hey, Lito could have put one of those chairs through the sliding glass door, so consider yourselves lucky, was all I could think when Annie gave me the sordid details. When asked what the issue was, Lito provided the obvious answer, or rather, question, “Where was Mom?”
The story is that much funnier because the dude is not an excitable fellow, unless Conor Gillespie has just hit a three-run home run to knock the New York Mets out of the Wild-Card game.
Then you might just see him revert back to kindergarten age.
|Who'd a thunk?|