You want cheese on that flyer? I tagged along with my daughter to the 1960’s. The Southsider is an old fast-food drive-in situated alongside the railroad tracks on the far side of town. When we need comfort, my daughter knows, slipping back in time is a known cure. The burger joint never advertises and so only those who venture across the tracks know what it means to fly anything. You want a flying burger with pickle and onion? A ham and cheese with mustard? The fry cook slips your ingredients between two slices of bread, pops the sandwich into a circular grill and voila! you have a sealed flying saucer served to you in a basket with home-cut fries. $2.50.
Not knowing if I am the beekeeper or the bee.
The night before Jupiter and Venus kept company with a slivered moon for a short while after sunset. Not so many years ago my grandmother would have called to see if I had been outside yet to watch the planets align with this waning moon. She would be 101 this year had she not passed away when she was 88. Or 89? I don’t remember which. I called my mother but instead of asking how old her mother was when she passed away, I asked her had she stepped outside her back door yet. Look up, Mom, look up.
Then I texted my kids. We all know which way the western sky faces each of our homes. Jupiter and Venus are right outside your front door, I texted to both of them. Oh, Mom they probably said, but, Oh, wow, is what they texted back. The little things and the short whiles weave our lives together.
Which is what is on my mind when FishingGuy and I go shopping for salt water fish the next day. He’s promised to teach me how to bake halibut or cod. We drive to the market downtown and study the butcher’s cold cases filled with seafood, fresh cuts of beef, peppered bacon and whole roasting chickens.
What do you do with your chicken feet? I tell him about the planets lining with the moon, and how I miss my Grandma’s random phone calls about the little things in life. She called me once after butchering a chicken because it had occurred to her I might not realize I could boil chicken feet and have the best chicken stock. I didn’t want to tell her not only did I not butcher my own chickens, but the chicken came from stores, skinless and boneless. Standing at the meat counter, looking at whole, raw chickens can be a nostalgia booby-trap.
He smiles at my story, guides me past the counter, and wishes he had known me then. We choose two cod filets and he drives me back home. We need two fresh lemons, a white onion and a sheet of sturdy tin foil. None of which I have at home, all of which he has at his. He hands me the packet of fish and promises to return in thirty minutes.
One hundred and eighty minutes. One hundred and nintey-nine. He returns with lemon, onion and tin foil and a container of fresh chicken stock and a bag of home style noodles.. Turns out it is a small matter to save chicken backs every time he roasts a chicken. And turns out a person can make a decent chicken stock in one hundred and ninety minutes.