Thursday, June 11, 2009

We Know How to Party

I can't believe I forgot to tell you about this. Yeah, yeah, I'm a few months behind, but it's only fair for all of you to see how truly exciting is this life that I live.

Community fund-raiser suppers are all the rage around these parts. I don't think they're quite as common in other, more citified parts. We have fish fries, haystack suppers (always "supper", never "dinner"), and until last year, this very same church hosted the fabulous Strawberry Supper, prompting Calvin to refer to the church only as the "Strawberry Church", forever and ever amen. I tried to tell him that we should really call it the "Noodle Church" now, but he won't hear of it.

This time around, my sister Keisha and my best gal Sarah joined myself and the kids. Sarah flirted with the noodle-scoopers (no surprise there) and I begged off repeated offers for assistance in carrying the food to the table. I was a little flustered in that moment, because Calvin and Ruby were both somehow free and I knew that Calvin would end up eating the church out of house and home. I wanted to just say, "Please, let me pay for him", but I knew they would think it was strange, so I didn't. I don't know why, but things like that always send me into a small, internal tizzy. I just like things to be fair, ya know?

Calvin ended up going back for seconds, thirds and fourths. (It's all-you-can-eat.) The blue-haired ladies could not get enough of him.

There was some type of miscommunication between Keisha and Ruby through which Keisha ended up eating Ruby's lime jello salad with pears. Ruby was not amused.

I nearly forgot to mention - the meal came with pie. Keisha and I both chose what we thought was the most divine looking slice of peach. The peaches looked SO ripe and the filling was thick and abundant. Only problem was - it wasn't peach. It was apricot. With pineapple tidbits mixed in, for good measure. It was basically fruit cocktail pie. Ever heard of it? Want the recipe? Me either. But in truth, it wasn't half bad. My dad would have been in heaven.

Following our life-on-the-edge supper, we came back home, put the kids to bed and sat down for a quiet poetry reading.

You think I'm joking, but I am not.

I had recently discovered an old book at an estate sale entitled, "Farm Ballads" (Will Carleton - 1873). Hello. I had no choice. It has turned out to be the most charming little book. I'm not all the way through it, as I like to save the poems for rainy days.

I'll leave you with a few lines from one of my early faves:

"Draw up the papers, lawyer, and make 'em good and stout;
Things at home are crossways, and Betsey and I are out.
We, who have worked together so long as man and wife,
Must pull in single harness the rest of our nat'ral life...."

"...And the next that I remember was when we lost a cow;
She had kicked the bucket for certain, the question was only - How?
I held my opinion, and Betsey another had;
And when we were done a-talkin', we both of us was mad..."

"...And one thing put in the paper, that first to me didn't occur:
That when I am dead at last she bring me back to her;
And lay me under the maples I planted years ago,
When she and I was happy; before we quarreled so.

And when she dies I wish that she would be laid by me;
And, lyin' together in silence, perhaps we might agree;
And if ever we meet in heaven, I wouldn't think it queer
If we loved each other the better for what we quarrelled here."

Sigh. Smile.

And best of all, the very next poem is called "How Betsey and I Made Up."