"But Mom, it's like dripping in butter," Jane says. One toast in hand, the other leaned against her plate, she frowns. Family breakfast. Every Saturday Jack and Lucy cook eggs and toast for the family. All the rest of us have to do is roust our tired selves from bed.
"How much butter did you use, Jack?" Craig turns to the end of the table, Jack and Joe seated together on an antique toy box.
"Like one and a half sticks," he says.
"Oh," I say, "so 12 tablespoons, 14 pieces of toast, that's less than a tablespoon per piece. That's less than I use."
"Than YOU use?" Craig says.
"Yeah, at restaurants even they give you a tablespoon per piece," I say.
"A tablespoon?!" Craig raises both eyebrows, perfect arcs reaching all the way to the middle of his forehead.
"Yeah," I say.
"'Cause of all the times you've had toast at restaurants," he says. Something ticklish flits across his face.
"Yeah," I say, "you know that one that's shaped like a train, they used to do that. Oh no, they used that paintbrush to put the butter on and THAT was drench." I laugh. "That WAS a long time ago."
"A paintbrush?!" Jack says.
Conversation orbits. I notice Jane poised, toast still in hand.
"Yes, you still have to eat it," I say. She frowns with her shoulders. "You need to show appreciation for the time and the money that went into this."
"Oh," she says. With quiet deliberation she smothers the butter in jelly and slides the egg on top.
"That's actually pretty good," I say. "Jelly and egg on toast, yum."
"Yeah." She forces her manners to take the shape of quiet obedience. She nibbles the crust off, and in gradual turns eats toward the middle. We talk for longer than you'd think possible about that paintbrush in the butter at Frank's Diner. Something akin to resignations gradually ripens and becomes laughter around the table.
"Yeah," she says later, "it wasn't as bad as I though. I just sort of had a bad idea about it." The toast. Breaking fast together, the food is just a prop.
5826. Our family suburban breaks down. Craig ferries us home in shifts in the little black pick-up. My dad has the car towed with AAA. And in defiance of our panicked emotions, the repair is less than $200. God is so gracious.
5827. Someone blesses us with a special dinner in the middle of the chaos. It's like manna from heaven.
5827. Craig and I make a date of retrieving the car from the mechanic.
5828. We have our garden topsoil tested. The results show almost no nutrient value. We strategize on how to correct it.
5829. Browned butter shortbread cookies in the shape of tin shoulders.
5830. Apple cider vinegar, turns out it can even cure diaper rash.
5831. Lucy gets approval for more eye therapy.
5832. Red bell peppers, black bean noodles.
5833. Lemon soap.
5834. Daniel, Craig, and the cousins tear out two jumbo shrubs at Daniel's house.
5835. Peter takes the big Professional Engineer Exam.
5836. We have a couple for dinner and completely rearrange the dining room in preparation.
5837. We continue to plant and tend seedlings.
5838. Everyone rallies to lift each other up. Immediate and extended family, we feel their loving hands reached toward us.
5839. In the face of true riches all else fades.