Mikey had a swim party at the YMCA over the weekend. As we were walking out, I noticed a missed call from my neighbor across the street. She’s retired and in her 60s, and while we are friendly and talk whenever we cross paths, we aren’t in the habit of calling each other Sunday evenings.
I envisioned all sorts of tragedy, but decided to focus on fires, burglaries, and something with the dogs. I shored up my spine, ready to accept whatever she had to tell me and listened to her preliminary greetings with baited breath until she got down to it.
“Jules, would you like some red leaf lettuce and spinach? My crop just came in and I thought I’d share the bounty with you.”
I said yes, of course, but forgot to ask her is she was also growing chamomile in that garden of hers. I could use some.
There was a large bag of greens on our doorstep when we got home. I had a bowl for lunch the next day, and I will have another today. This, along with all the gardening magazines on the newsstands, reminded me that one of my life list goals was to start a garden. I don’t even know where to begin.
I saw my neighbor the next day and went over to thank her for the greens and ask for gardening help. She claims to be an amateur, but agreed to help me get started. I’m really excited. I can’t wait to be outside, under the sun, doing whatever it is people who garden do.
The greens I ate for lunch inspired me to cook dinner, something I feel like I haven’t done in far too long. With the boys sick so often, and then me sick last week, lately all we eat are cobbled together meals without flavor or nutrition. I made white bean chicken chili and scratch cornbread. It tasted great and everyone had seconds, except me. I saved myself for dessert, which came in the form of esophageal flambé. Delicious!
I haven’t been abstaining from flour and sugar for months, and I have the heartburn to prove it. I fell off the wagon December 26th and haven’t been able to get my groove back due to resistance and petulance. I see so many wonderful recipes, eating philosophies, and life experiences surrounded and celebrated by food that I find it difficult to commit to one way of eating for the long haul. Every good diet faction is headed by an even better spokesperson. They are convincing, every last one of them.
To eat differently is to single yourself out from the crowd. I know many people who thrive on the attention and live to tell the world they are raw vegan fruitarians allergic to coconuts, but that’s not me. I’m the introvert in the corner who can’t eat a spoonful of oatmeal without my chest turning into a smithy, but will lick the bowl clean if you tell me you made a double batch of Quaker Oats just for me. Hurting your feelings bothers me more than heartburn? I am weird.
One day everything will fall into place for me. I know it, and I’m not worried about it. Until then, I’ll keep eating my neighbor’s organic lettuce.
p.s. As a reader already observed, the second to last paragraph of this post has a lot in common with this post. It’s all interconnected, and I actually wrote a great deal more last night but edited it out. It sounded gloomy and morose, the opposite of what I wanted.