Monday, June 13, 2011

finding the joy

Third grade end-of-year picnic this evening.

On the way home from school, we had to get gas, and stop at the post office, and buy the feta cheese I forgot to get this morning when I was at the store, for a salad I was planning to make for the picnic.

Driving down the street that connects to our street, we saw -- and stopped to look at -- three baby raccoons.

The car was full of perhaps everything from the school year, sent home today with both boys. By the time we got to the front door, nearly thirty minutes later than usual, a more wise person might have unloaded the car, grabbed something from the pantry, and headed to the picnic.

I decided I was going to make, and bring, the main-course-kind-of-salad I had planned on making. So I cooked the chicken, crumbled the feta, sliced the melon, and made a vinaigrette. Then I went outside and gathered some mint from the garden, washed and chopped it, then added it to the rest. And I thought about what I heard my friend Shauna say on the radio this morning. She said that years ago, when she was diagnosed with celiac disease, there weren't gluten-free ready made products, so she experimented with making her own. Now, there are ready made options, and she has some sadness about that. Because it's a pleasure to spend time in the kitchen; to do that for your loved ones and for yourself. And I felt that need, amidst the busyness, to slow down and go through the ritual of preparing food.

I don't know why it always surprises me, at the end of an event like this, that I've had a good time, after dreading it a bit beforehand, as I always do. I'm happy because of the time spent with these people with whom I share an emotional connection, whose children are growing up alongside mine. I've known some of the kids almost their whole lives.


Elisabelle said...

i am always dreading this kind of event too!
your salad sounds delicious!

may said...

I love, love, love that someone brought their rice cooker! That would totally have been me.

pve design said...

I have that same wooden bowl....and I love putting a little extra effort into events like this.

thisfriendlyvillage said...

I loved this post because it described my last week! From wondering if I really needed to cook something from scratch (which I did and truly enjoyed)to having mixed feelings about attending a couple of things that turned out to be fun. Thanks for sharing! Margaret
PS Love the tree photo.

KPiep said...

That first picture makes me want to run out and find a gigantic tree to hug!

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

I totally relate to that grounding comfort of preparing food. Such a simple pleasure.