Friday, November 20, 2009
Cheese Puffs and Birthday Crowns
to have been in love
Boncho Nozawa, from Love Haiku by Patricia Donegan
I was in Trader Joe's the other night, picking up some goat milk on the advice of my podiatrist. He is enamored of the stuff--as he was describing its health benefits to me (good for the bones and joints, aids digestion, guarantees immortality) his usual stone-faced, all business doctor-persona was replaced by a wild enthusiasm, full of gesticulations and sentences that if written down would be lousy with exclamation points. Anyway, since it impressed him so much ("From the first day I drank it, I felt a difference. The first day!") I thought I'd give it a try. Having had a broken foot for six months, I was willing to drink dead gopher's blood through a Krazy Straw if I thought it would help speed along the healing process.
Anyway, it was the first day I was allowed to wear my own shoes (with orthotic inserts) and not that despised orthopediac sandal on my right foot with the beat-up black sneaker on my left (though I wanted to buy new sneakers my husband insisted we wait until my foot was better, so I wouldn't "wear down" the new left shoe.) On my first day back, I chose to wear my sexy black vinyl boots. All September and October I had watched every young woman in every imaginable cute boot, in every height, color, and style. High-heeled boot, cute rain boot, cowboy boot, short boot--they were all represented. Meanwhile if it rained the water would soak through the sandal and my sock, making the bottom of my right foot itch. I was and felt...lame.
So I'm at Trader Joe's, noticeably taller and definitely more put-together in proper, matching footware. I'm waiting in a very long line with people clutching their pre-Thanksgiving booty of butternut squash cubes, fried onions, and cranberry chevre logs. Suddenly, I'm awakened from my long-line-induced stupor by a small boy running past me, clutching a bag of Trader Joe's brand cheese puffs. "I love cheese puffs!" he exclaims, like he's just inherited a million dollars from his Uncle, "I love my dead Uncle!"
The older lady in front of me giggled, and we exchanged smiles, and I said, "I wish I still got that excited about cheese puffs." The woman nodded. We both seemed to reflect on this. Then another baby in an adjacent shopping cart started bawling, and the moment was gone.
What small things did I love as a child that I take for granted now or don't even think about? Here's a short list: Burger King french fries, ladies' hats from the thrift store, cherry italian ice, being picked up and spun around by my father when he got home, watching scary movies with my friend Heather during Friday night sleepovers, the two hots dogs they gave you after you marched with your Girl Scout troop in the Veteran's Day parade, gold-colored cardboard birthday crowns, dancing in my first pair of high-heeled tap shoes, and, speaking of dancing school...anything, ANYTHING decorated with sequins.
What small things do I love now, but which I don't yell out my deep affection for in public: Pomme Frites dipped in mayonnaise, full skirts, Tiramisu-flavored gelato, getting a big hug from my dad when I come to visit them, and otherwise, a kiss from my husband, foreign movies watched while drinking red wine, a Friday night restaurant meal, a pretty piece of vintage jewelry, dancing at weddings, and almost ANYTHING decorated with sequins. And let's not forget boots.
What small things did you once love? What about now? Yes, I know it's very "My Favorite Things" but so what? Fraulein Maria was definitely on to something.