"Thanks for picking a cucumber for me," I say. Joe trots over the backdoor threshold. His three-year-old stride does double time at my elbow. "Thanks," I say. I brush spiny prickles from the cucumber.
"Yeah," he says.
"I think I might give you some of it," I say. I pat the cuke.
"Well," he says, "I actually was kind of wanting ALL of it." He arches his eyebrows and raises his shoulders.
"Oh," I say. "Nope. But I'll probably give you a piece."
"O-kay," he says reminiscent of Alvin and the Chipmunks. We trit-trot inside and build a salad together.
"Can I have a brallilla?" Joe says.
"A what?" I say.
"A brallilla," he says.
"A BRALLILLA," he lopes to the fruit basket and points.
"Oooh," I say, "a BANANA. No, I think I might make banana bread."
"Oh, but I want a banana." he says. "I could maybe peel this one off and you can have these." The bunch now in his arms, he makes as if to peel off one.
"Oh," he sighs. "I wonder why you're not making PIE," he says. I pause and look into his blue seas of eyes. "I wonder why you're not making PIE actually," he says.
"I know," I say. I smile, optimism alights his face. "Me too," I say.
"You SHOULD," he says.
"I might," I say
"'Cause it's YUMMY," he says.
Yummy. Yes. I'm caught in the hurricane of his face. Happiness and expectation turn long arms of conversation. "Pie, huh?"
"We'll see," I say.
So it is, optimism meets me in the morning and at every turn. The unfolding of the human mind is so grand an affair.
5561. A neighbor brings over four bags of garden tomatoes.
5562. Another neighbor gives us four buckets of pears, a tub of grapes, and a lovely afternoon.
5563. New soap.
5564. Craig throws and end-of-summer carnival for the kids at church. Cousins come, and we play.
5565. Craig and I go on a thrift shopping date. I find New Zealand wool yarn for $0.50 a skein and books for $0.29 each.
5566. I learn how to make lemon bars from scratch.
5567. I ferment a couple more gallons of vegetables and start a second gallon of apple cider vinegar.
5568. "Thanks for taking care of us," Jack says as I wash dishes at the sink. "Oh, you're welcome," I sigh, then pause. "I like taking care of you," I say. "That doesn't go unnoticed," he says.
5569. I round the home stretch knitting Betsy's winter jacket. I might have enough yarn left over to knit a bonnet.
5570. We watch the Republican presidential debate. Circled up as a family, it rings in with the excitement of a playoff game. We talk politics like game strategy. Jane doesn't miss a thing.
5571. "What's Planned Parenthood?" Jane wants to know. There at the table, it's lunch, all eyes on me. So, I tell them. Jack and Jane tear up, speechless. Me too. The littles don't seem to notice. "Maybe one of you will be the one to stand up and stop this," I say. Indignation and resolve. Something changes in the room.
5572. We continue to tidy the house.
5573. Jane writes a seven page paper on Clara Barton.
5574. I make stew, then doctor it up with mushrooms sautéed in a stick of butter and rosemary. That plus a little salt, it does the trick.
5575. The house vacillates in varying levels of tidiness, but in each frame, there we are. Unmistakable and unbidden, love springs up between us when we least expect it, the soaring wings of devotion.