all of the selves we Have ever been
As I looked through my kitchen cabinets
wondering how creative I can be with the contents should I face quarantine or empty store shelves, I had a flashback. Something I had not thought about in…well, maybe ever.
There were four children in my immediate family. I had one brother. The males were outnumbered two-to-one.
As my brother got further along in grade school, our father began a manly Saturday night ritual. After all the girls went to bed, my dad and brother would stay up for the late night movie. It was usually some horrible, grotesque, old, black-and-white sci-fi flick. By today’s movie standards, those films were primitive. Might as well have been cave drawings. The ladies of the house were far too sophisticated for such nonsense. We were glad to go to bed.
We later learned that the movie was not the main attraction on those Saturday nights. What was really going on downstairs in the kitchen below us was the crazy sandwich contest.
My dad threw down the gauntlet. Each contestant had to create a sandwich for the other to eat. And the player HAD to eat the concoction. Any ingredient was fair game as long as it was edible. The sandwich could be flat or tall as long as it could stand on a plate between two slices of bread. The creations became outrageous. A sandwich might contain peanut butter, lunchmeat, pickles, mashed potatoes, raisins, and maybe an Oreo cookie or two. The combinations were endless and often unimaginable. My stomach would become squishy just hearing about it, but my brother loved this time with our dad.
The ritual went on until our parents divorced. It just occurred to me now how much my brother must have missed those Saturday nights. My father died many years later. My brother died not too long after our father. My brother was never really able to regain his footing after dad died. I miss them both. Today, I am grateful for this delicious memory of abundance in a frightening moment of scarcity. Our people come back to us when we need them!
When we are years away from this coronavirus pandemic, may we look back and see that it was a unique, heaven-sent opportunity to slow down and be together, a time for family bonding and new rituals. May our children's memories of this time be sustenance for them when they are faced with a scary time in the future, a time we cannot yet see.