"Like the study of science and art, accounts of historical events can be intrinsically fascinating. But they have a wider significance. I believe that people are better able to chart their life course and make life decisions when they know how others have dealt with pressures and dilemmas---historically, contemporaneously, and in works of art. And only equipped with such understanding can we participate knowledgeably in contemporary discussions (and decisions) about the culpability of various individuals and countries in the Second World War. Only with such understanding can we ponder the responsibilty of human beings everywhere to counter current efforts at genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia to bring the perpetrators to justice."
"...we humans are the kinds of animals who learn chiefly by observing others---what they value, what they spurn, how they conduct themselves from day to day, and especially, what they do when they believe that no one is looking."
----Howard Gardner, from The Disciplined Mind, published in 1999

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cardamom Pods and Cracker Jacks; or, One Last Lunch

When Big Guy began work, Little Guy and I missed seeing him during the day, and BG missed his old carefree habits. To help make sense of our new routines, I decided that we should share a special lunch together on Mondays, one of the two days of the week that BG doesn't work.

This past Monday was the last such lunch of the summer, as the boys return to school in the coming week. We cooked a pot of chili (with soy burger, thank you very much :), LG standing by the stove, spoon in hand, as if he were the captain of a ship with a constant hand on the tiller, stirring and adding pinches of salt and coriander; BG making guacamole, using the dasher from the chocolate pot to mash the avocado into the lime juice and salt; and I, of course, had to bake cornbread to complete this cooking, taking care to preheat the skillet so the golden batter hissed and purred when it hit the sheen of black iron.
It was fitting, too; for this was the menu of our first celebratory BG's Day Off Lunch. As we sat and ate, showering fistfuls of Frito corn chips over bowls of chilie and guacamole, we again declared contest rules: he (or she!) who first finds one of the three cardamom pods in the chili will be declared The Winner---of what, it's never been specified: somehow, knowledge that one has indeed been acknowledged The Winner seems in and of itself to be most satisfactory.
Not a one of us found a single pod, but we were too satiated to much care.
Yesterday, I warmed up a bowl of chili. I found all three pods.
I'm the winner!

Finding those three pods is the least of the reasons that I consider myself to be occasioned by good fortune. It has been a challenging year this year past, with more challenges to come. This life, full of family and beauty and challenge, this coming here, and having the occasion to meet you as you come by---all have been as serendipitous as finding that first cardamom pod.
So many are having such dreary weather as of late, ourselves included. Especially in those conditions, it's fun to find that one thing that makes you The Winner, isn't it?
Go ahead: declare yourself The Winner for today. If anyone asks you to present proof positive, you may say I'm holding that cardamom pod, just like a crackerjack toy, for you.
Have a great day, dear reader.


wolfbaby said...

sounds like a wonderful day :)

neroli said...

Yes, it was!
Days like that are days I like to pull out and think about when those days that aren't so great come around...
sort of like the "King of the Hill" episode, where Hank had to go to an anger management class, and the instructor told him to pretend to hold and pet an invisible kitty while murmuring softly: "pet the kitty, pet the kitty!"