Earlier in the week Sonny dropped in with a newspaper article from Sunday's Des Moines Register reporting on an excellent leaf ride through northeastern Iowa and ending in the Norwegian town of Decorah. He has another newspaper dated two years ago interviewing a married couple who had opened a pizza joint in said Norwegian town and it had experienced instant success. You know
how your mother loved pizza, and we kept this article thinking we would check it out. Did my parents have a file cabinet somewhere that held info on intended places to visit? Sonny says it will take the better part of the day and I don't think I want to spend all those hours in the car after so recently returning from Colorado and Minneapolis road trips. Like so many overworked women, weekends are catch-up time to right all the household wrongs in preparation for the next hectic week. Your mother always packed a picnic lunch. Argh, mother, why did you need to be Mrs. Perfect 50's/60's Housewife? All that was missing were the high heels and pearls. But Sonny tells me we could stop at a Subway and we could bring fruit and other supplements for the meal. When we return, he tells me, we could do an early dinner. As usual, my father has all meals and snacks planned for the next 48 hours and there will be no diversion from his schedule. That's negotiable, I tell him, and he looks confused. We'll just wait and see how things go, I add. He leaves the articles with me but reminds me he does want them back. Later that evening I make several attempts to screen them but they do not hold my interest.
I am growly these days and I find it difficult spending time in the kitchen. I cook two meals weekly for my father and I have lost my rhythm in the culinary department. I can't get all the dishes ready at the same time. When the meal is over I am exhausted and almost every dish and pan is lying greasy and crusted on the counters.
Cowboy Dave says perhaps he will not need to go along on this trip and maybe I would rather just have Dad and the day to myself. I study him and realize that I am glaring in a menacing sort of way. You can go, I tell him, I can't keep up a conversation that long. And I realize I need him tomorrow. His conversation peppered with sports statistics and John Deere stories will be the diversion we need. My dad and I will no doubt flounder too often into reminisces of my mother. A few will be all right, but not too many. I am glad that he is brave enough to make this trip even though it is without my mother, his constant companion on these kind of road adventures. They loved to traverse the back roads of Wisconsin and the rich farmlands of the Mississippi valley.
With a sigh I visit the corner mart and pick up some deviled eggs that get tossed into a bag and resemble a box of yellow glop with white chunks thrown in. Chips and dip, deli-baked cookies - I honestly do not have the energy to do the bake thing right now and watermelon and grapes. I discovered a cantaloupe on my kitchen counter that had been there for awhile - kind of forgot about it. Has a few soft spots, but it goes in the fridge and it could be all right. We'll know more tomorrow.
I pack a bag with the good paper plates and Vanity Fair napkins, only the best. And with a sigh I tuck in my mother's red-checked gingham table cloth. I had taken this from her linen closet after her death - it reminded me of countless picnics from my youth. She has ironed it with even creases and I know that when Dave washes it upon our return I will need to iron it again.