I think my favorite moment today was when I biked on errands with Nels and halfway through my business I realized I was very hungry (I feed my kids first, when I remember to feed us at all), and I saw a sign advertising our own 8th Street Ale House’s vegetarian lunch special, and I decided to leave my son outside the bar while I popped in (JUST for the food to go, honest), and while I waited our police chief entered, and I half-expected to have my ass busted for the winsome little boy gamboling around outside the tavern and peeping in windows and hopefully not getting in the lawman’s cruiser. (Previous sentence note: I am lousy with commas!) Our police chief is a very nice person and respected in his job capacity. He is also intimidating, because A. he’s a policeman, hello (I have no bad experiences with police officers personally; there are just some types of Authority I feel a stilted relationship with, and they include teachers and doctors, whom I have been friends with but always call them Ms. or Miss or Mr. or Dr. Last-Name), and B. he is very tall (and handsome) – easily 6′ 5″ if not more, and in his uniform he looks even taller. I just smiled at him and figured if he mentioned the kid running wild outside a drinking establishment it would be a good segue into something I want to ask about, namely having a mini field-trip for my kidlets to the police station, the kind of thing they miss out on since they are not in school.
But lo, as it turned out he was there on other business and did not cast his eye about the pub and bellow out Who was the Mother of this Poor (alternatively, Naughty) Child?, which is pretty much my internal fear any time I am ever anywhere with Nels (in some ways I cannot wait until this boy emancipates!). It’s funny because whether my kids or myself are being Good, Bad, or Ugly do you realize I worry all the time I’m going to get busted for something? Something, I have no idea what, as I am no law-breaker. I don’t even smoke pot (borrring!) and imagine myself so Upright that if I ever get too much change back I always correct the cashier’s mistake (double borrring!). Maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough and I’ll get Busted for whatever and I’ll realize I had nothing to fear all along.
The barkeep is one of those guys that calls women insulting pet names, like today “Dear”. This is how I feel about that sort of thing: [ here ] (I used to get it all the time when I was in the Engineering profession – snore!). Anyway, after I tipped the fellow and loaded up my lunch (a Greek salad) I retrieved Nels (who had behaved himself well) and we hit the supermarket and bought the food for dinner tonight and tomorrow. It was sunny today but a bit cold; I however am not complaining because as long as it isn’t wet my bike errands are relatively joyous to experience. Yes, even when I realized I hadn’t brought payment and had to run to my bank to take out cash, then return to retrieve our sundries. All Mayberry-like my bank is only a couple blocks from the supermarket. My son wrapped his arms around me and we experienced the companionable silence on the bike that has served so many wonderful memories already. We eventually got home and Nels was off the bike like a shot, playing with his sister outside where my husband found them when he returned from work. Ralph also came home to a couple loaves of fresh-baked bread, a whole wheat loaf that I’d been working on since yesterday, lovely and fragrant fare. If I was smart I’d bake bread every day because I can’t remember a time I made it that it didn’t make everyone in my family happy, and I am completely serious about that.
It is wonderful to have Ralph home for the weekend. Even though what he does when he’s at home is work work work, it seems he is happiest when here. He tells me this weekend he’s going to give me the Lawn of My Dreams, although I’m not sure what that is. I do think the fact he dug up a huge pile of garbage (previous tenants) and is installing garden beds is a good start. The chickens absolutely love the temporary pile of dirt and sod. They pick through it triumphantly; they come running when anyone enters the lawn, anticipating more grub-revealing shovelwork, or perhaps the leftover chocolate chip pancakes from the morning’s repast. They are happy birds indeed and reward us with their eggs – five from four hens the other day, wow! – which they leave in secret little roosts they choose about the premises.