last one out, turn out the lights
so here we are, supremely home alone. whole town, it seems, is up and gone. destinations: distant.
not us. we’re here, hauling in the papers, the mail. feeding home-bound cats. keeping an eye out for wayward packages.
we are the stay-at-home brigade. and we’re rather practiced at it. except for once in four years, when we made an emergency crash landing at my then newly grieving, widowed brother’s, we’re the ones who hold down the block, every spring break.
mind you, it has its advantages. other night, i was the only one in the checkout line at jewel. matter of fact, i was the only one in the store. the checkers were holding a little dance contest when i rolled in, needing strawberries and milk and pretzels stuffed with apples (the finest bedtime snack, made, it turns out, by my pilates buddy kim; we twist like pretzels together, she makes them for a living).
if we wanted to take our pretzels to the street, plunk down in our jammies, with our glasses of milk and our puffy twists, we could do that. no one would honk a horn. we could sit there dunking pretzels for a quarter hour, in the part of the street where the cars zoom back and forth on an ordinary evening. but not this week, oh no. no one, not a single headlight, would come shining down the lane.
i’m telling you, we’re all alone here.
it was quite something, the wind-up to this solitary adventure. first the calls started coming in: could you bring in our mail? could you feed the cats? scoop the cat box? funny, no one even asked if we were leaving; they just assumed, as always, we’d be here.
then the afternoon that school got out for the last time in a week, all these funny trucks started pulling to the curb. trucks with “stay,” blazoned to the side. seems all the mutts on the block were getting escorted to spas for spring break.
wonder if i coulda jumped in? done a little panting? drooling, perhaps? made like i was just another mutt.
ah well. the stay mobiles departed, then black cars arrived. no one, it seems, drives to airports anymore. they let the black cars do the honking. they made no noise on my block, the black cars did not. they quietly opened up their doors, flipped their trunks, then carried off the folks who’d packed up all their sunblock.
i waved, from here on the curb. then i got to making my calculated chart. figured out the rounds, which cat when, which mail where.
but now we’re settled. now we’re having fun. we’ve got the whole movie store to ourself. we can have any flavor we want at the baskin-robbins. and just yesterday after a long family bike ride (yes, the one who once fell off, remounted and rode again, much to his mother’s pounding glee), i dashed inside, poured big mugs of pink lemonade, piled high a basket full of pretzels, carried it outside to where the boys were waiting.
tell me, i began, what bed & breakfast would serve pink lemonade and pretzels in the middle of a sunday afternoon?
with that, the easy rider curled up and took a three-hour nap. there was no noise to wake him. only the sound of his mama being home alone.
and if you’ll excuse me now, the bed & breakfast is serving the boys’ most favorite french toast, and someone around here has to get the griddle going…..
anyone else around this week? or are you tapping in tahiti?
also, i noticed over the weekend, a truly wonderful lacing of comments being added to days past. please, never feel like a subject is closed once the next meander rolls along. the conversation, like a good broth, gets richer for the simmer, the adding of ingredients. take a glance back. add more thoughts. this chair endeavor is best when the thoughts keep building. i am only here to get the broth on the burner. you are the ones who make it worth savoring……and for that, of course, i thank you deeply…
Good neighbors are a treasure … you must be worth your weight in gold.
Gee, could you tell us about your boys’ favorite french toast? We’re a long, mighty long way from resembling a b and b around here, but we do love a good heap of french toast…..Your break sounds blissful to me. Nothing like a little peace and quiet.And yes, I too really love the comments that get added on days after an original post. Thanks everyone for your insights!
ahhh jcv, the b&b reference of course came with tongue deeply implanted in cheek. but the french toast is good. it starts, as these things do, with the finest challah known to humankind. it is not the challah i make, it is the challah i pluck up from the counter of heavenly hearth, the bread store i contend could go up against any in the city. i keep thinking i would love to do a taste-off between HH and red hen bread, the city’s venerable bread and fine bakery. but i’ve yet to convince powers at the tribune that it is a fine idea. i need a third, a south, or south suburb to round out the trio. anyway, back to challah. i buy the whole wheat. my boys love the breadsmith challah, sweeter, whiter, that you can find in most groceries, i believe. slice it thick. hold on while you mix, say, four eggs, a good douse of milk (cream if you are feeling uber-mommish), best vanilla, a sprinkle of cinnamon. maybe orange zest, though sometimes my boys protest. mix mix mix. start dunking. let challah slices swim, til almost soggy, if you have the luxury of time. if not, give a quick bath and then, on preheated griddle, sizzling but not smoking with butter, plop on your babies (your bread babies, please). when nice and golden, flip. repeat. but no more flipping. slide onto plate. sprinkle with powdered sugar, because my best friend in grade school was from argentina, oh-so-cosmopolitan, and they sprinkled powdered sugar. while at my house, whitebread suburban american with a dad whose ad agency was on the cutting edge of hamburger helper for cryng out loud, there was no powdered sugar cloud. only syrup. from aunt jemima. maybe. none of the real stuff from vermont that we consider essential. these days i slice and sprinkle strawberries, in winter it’s dried cranberries for that dash of red atop the white powder and the golden challah slices……it makes the boys happy. that’s all i know. did i leave anything out? you’ll let me know……
Yummm, thanks! Yes, tongue in cheek about the b&b, but nevertheless your house looks pretty darn inviting in the pics.Here’s a third bakery or two: Medici Bakery in Hyde Park, which I feel has the best raisin bread on the planet (and challah), or Great Harvest, Oak Park and elsewhere, everything so good.