Kitchen Memories

Fire up the barbecue, mama’s in the kitchen…

We cooked for the holiday weekend. I made potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans, yeast rolls, and my special homemade barbecue sauce.  For dessert, I baked a strawberry cake and put together a fresh pineapple and cantaloupe fruit dish. He manned two grills: chicken, ribs, burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, and sausages.

Two of the girls stopped by and made plates to take home. The other two might pop in wanting plates tomorrow, but even so, we might be eating leftovers halfway into June.

I didn’t cook anything green… oh well, we can eat veggies and leafy green salads with leftovers.

Memorial Day is the day we are supposed to remember slain soldiers who fought for our freedom, but it is women in kitchens that cross my mind in remembrance… Grandma Goldie cooking up a storm, Aunt Ethel shelling peas on the porch, Grandma Blackburn baking pies… women who endured wars fought for pins and ribbons, just causes, and the ever restricted illusion we know as freedom.

Thanks for reading!

 

Entanglements

He stepped into her dream, blending into the scene, eluding conversation.

It was a Friday. She went to work early and forgot to clock in, remembered when the computers went down at 7:01 a.m. She saw him again, off in the distance, as she walked to the office. And, once again, she ached with a deep sadness from the loss.

Too late, said the clerk. Time cards were already mailed off to payroll. He could try to remedy the situation but with the computers being down, she will be short a day’s pay and they might dock her for the whole week. What can you do?

She stepped out into the hallway, lit a cigarette for two quick deep puffs and out, breaking rules as you’re not allowed to smoke anywhere anymore. A wizardly old man, bent from time and creased with wrinkles on leathery skin, saw her and laughed as he flipped ashes from his own cig.

The dream flipped as dreams do and he was there, with sadness in his own eyes, standing beside her and saying hey, there is something about me and you, we belong together, what do you say?

She wanted touch, as if a kiss could make everything all better, but none was offered while she studied his eyes for sincerity. The awkward tension between them was too real. A simple yes answer could alter the tides and change the course of lives. Once she was certain that he was sincere in the request and intended to follow through to make it happen, she answered straight from the heart without hesitation. Yes, but there is something I have to tell you. I have an entanglement.

~ end of dream ~

SUNDAY: I awoke from this odd dream… it is what it is: my mind playing games, tapping into a deep well of sadness to stir up memories and a longing for what will never be.

It’s garlic, the old lady told me… we spoke across the fence on Saturday, making introductions and small talk as we both tended flowerbeds in our back yards. She was thinning out her Black Eyed Susan plants and I was digging up what I thought was wild onions to make room for some peppers. I worked until my feet gave out, which means there is still a lot of work to do… so much garlic, so little time.

It will take a month of Sundays to clear out the entanglements of weeds and briers out of the perennials in the side beds. Some might wait until next year.

The square garden bed that looks like it should be a sandbox is now planted with collard greens, turnips, and carrots, with a mix of salad greens (a premixed variety of lettuce seeds) along the one side. Maybe the wooden beams will discourage the rabbits from nibbling. Nah, they can easily hop over it.

My bones locking up cancelled plans to go downtown, hard to travel when I can’t walk.

On the plus side, a yard crew from the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation cut the grass at the abandoned house next door, so bye-bye bamboo… till it sprouts again.

Thanks for reading!

Bamboozled

It looks like fishing poles sprouted up in the yard next door. The bamboo plants are now over 7 foot tall.

We are waiting to see how long it takes the city to do something about it. They cut the grass, bill the owner, but have yet to come by this year.

I was told by a neighbor that I would have first dibs to buy that house from the city for back taxes being that I live right next door, but I don’t have the cash to make an offer.

I was like ahhh… so I looked it up on the auditor’s website and, sure enough, the owner is listed as “address unknown” and the city tacks 600 a year onto his unpaid tax bill to maintain the yard.

So, to sound a bit like Mr. Rogers… who wants to be my neighbor?

There is a very good possibility that the city would consider an offer as low as 5,000 considering the back taxes are racking up to about five grand with the yard maintenance fees and all. I told the kids about it, but they don’t want to live that close to mama.

It could be a nice little house… 3 bedroom ranch, full basement, nice size yard, decent garage. Roof looks fine, newer style windows, siding needs washed and painted. And, it is located in a racially diverse South side neighborhood, near St. Matthias on a quiet little street of mostly owner occupied homes, within a half block walk to the nearest WRTA bus route.

I’m not a Realtor, have nothing to gain if someone buys it…. except a new neighbor who will hopefully keep that bamboo under control. I’ve read that it will eventually die off if you keep it cut down due to lack of photosynthesis (sunshine on leaves) but who knows? I just don’t want it spreading to my yard.

Thanks for reading!