Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Baked Beans & Mom

I went to Boston Market for lunch. They had baked beans, which they hadn’t had for some time, so I ordered them as a side. I watched as the server scraped the tray clean to give me my beans, and was grateful I got the last of them.

Soon, I was sitting at table, munching on some veggies and the beans. As I ate the sweet tasting beans, I remembered how my mother loved slow cooked beans. She would cook up a potful every now and then at home. Later, when she was in the nursing home, we’d wheel her in her wheelchair over to KFC. They served baked beans. She would be happy then, smiling as she munched away.

Now it was me, eying the side of beans on my plate. As I did, I thought, “I’m eating these beans in honor of my mother.”

As I ate the beans, my thoughts wandered. Did Mom love baked beans because her family cooked them a lot when she was growing up? Or was this just a taste particular to her? I wondered if my Uncle Gordon had loved baked beans? If I asked my cousin, would he remember?

I became aware of a figure hovering by my table. I looked up. There stood the hostess, with a tub of baked beans in her hands.

She said, “I didn’t give you the normal serving of beans, so I’m giving you an extra side.”

She handed me the tub. I thanked her and put it on my tray to take home for later. What are the odds of that? I’ve never been given tubs of food before, and I’ve eaten here a lot. But then, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten baked beans before in honor of my mother.

I smiled to myself. “Thanks, Mom!”


November 1, 2009

6:21 pm
Time has a funny way of twisting around. I sit here in my bedroom and I am in a timeless place. No breath of wind comes through the open window. Outside, the late day sun highlights a pink wall a block away. Two parking lots lie in pine tree shade. It must be at least 80 degrees inside. I hear only the constant whir of my cool mist humidifier and occasional scratching as it swallows bits of microscopic debris. My floor fan is on, but drowned out by the humidifier. I could be 12 or 90 years old. I could be in another time and place entirely, somewhere else, staring out a window at day’s end, remembering, wondering…

Time doesn’t matter here. What I remember, what I wonder, are thoughts best held close to my heart. To let them out, even for a second, out of this timeless place, is to risk losing them. So I sit here. I remember.

It’s funny how things keep repeating themselves. I read my diaries earlier today, and heard a relative acting and saying the same things seven years ago as he says now, the same things as he said when I was 13, when he held the power.

Why do these things matter? It’s never easy, this being a family. It’s so much easier to go to work and solve problems there. People don’t get angry so much. Maybe that’s why I like this room, with the view. The sun lights only a wisp of pink wall now. Soon all will be pine tree twilight.

I can pretend here. I can pretend I too am timeless. This lifetime or another, what does it matter? Sitting here looking, I need do nothing. It’s the doing that is hard. Going out there and opening my mouth, doing what I think is helpful only to learn how differently another sees me. I am safe here in this room. No one can reach me here. I haven’t failed anyone, including myself, because here I can sit unseen, yet see.

I read of others who go out into the world and do and do and do. But I am cursed — or blessed, depending – with that part of me that stands aside and sees and hears in a different way. Sometimes I try to speak of it, but inevitably I choose the wrong words, and my listener does not understand. Sometimes I wonder, why try?

Try telling that to the sun or the moon or the stars! They just are. So, too, I suppose am I… It’s the getting from here to there that’s the hard thing.

The sun is gone now, but tomorrow it will rise again. And I will go out my door, back into the world.