Now southern dumplings are a different thing entirely. They are actually quite like pasta in that the dumpling dough is much stiffer and rolled out thin and cut before they are put into the broth to cook. They are flat dumplings and come out like big ol' noodles. And I ain't any good at those things. I have tried because Mr. Moon loves the flat dumplings and that's the way his mama made them but somehow, I never get it right so I always just go back to my old tried and true which are good, dammit, but not what some people would rightly call dumplings at all and Maw Maw would be one of those people.
And so I did what anyone in her right mind would do and I bought frozen dumplings.
This kind. I have no idea who Mary Hill is but if you look up there in the lefthand corner you will see that she is of the belief that we should all say "Yes to dumplings, No to drugs."
This may be true, although probably not for those of us for whom white flour IS a drug, but that's another matter.
Anyway, I cooked my chicken and I made my broth and I put those dumplings in there and I cooked them and then, without shame I took them to Maw Maw's house. I also took her some eggs from our hens which she calls "real" eggs. She was just getting ready for a nap when I got there so I kissed her and left the dumplings and ran some errands and waited on Mr. Moon to get through with a title closing so that I could shuttle him home because of a complicated car issue and it was all okay.
When I was in the library I felt as if maybe my head was floating up near the ceiling somewhere and out of nowhere I got some terrible heartburn and for a moment I thought maybe I was having an attack of some sort but then I realized that yes, I was, but it was merely (merely!) anxiety and I finished up and slid out of there and I was...okay.
I got a text a little while ago from Billy saying that he'd gone over to see Maw Maw and eaten so much chicken and dumplings that he'd had to unbutton his pants and that Maw Maw ate a huge bowl of them too so I guess they were fittin', as we say. Hearing that his grandmother, who weighs about fourteen pounds now, ate a big bowl of something I made makes me happier than anything I can imagine. I swear, I could pick that woman up and carry her on my hip the way I carry Gibson.
I think I am heartsore. Just purely and cleanly heartsore. If hearts can be overused, mine is. I'm no saint and no guru and it just doesn't take more than the sort of regular life I've been living lately to wear my heart out. And when Paw Paw died, it was just a big reminder that life is short, even if it's pretty much normal length and Maw Maw told me the other day that she was so glad that she had so many good memories of things she'd done with her husband over the years. The trips they'd taken, especially. I asked her if there had been a trip she remembered most fondly and she said that no, there really wasn't. They were just all so good.
And isn't that the way it should be? That there are so many good memories that none of them is the best or the favorite, that they were just all good and each special in its own way and don't we all want that? And of course all of this made me think of my own husband, my own marriage, and yes, of the trips we've taken together and my favorite ones have been to Cozumel and no, I can't tell you which one was the best because each and every one of them had magic in it and beauty and so much laughing and love and when we're there together, twenty-four hours a day for however many days we get to stay, it's not too much, it's not even enough, and when we get home and come back to "normal" life, I miss him when he goes to work for awhile. I miss my buddy, my lover, my man, my partner in crime and love and dining and sleeping and swimming and snorkeling and mopeding and exploring and discovery and what-do-you-want-to-do-today? and sunset-watching and mango-and-yogurt-shopping and all of it. All of it.
I don't even have any idea how many times we've been there since our first trip in 1987. No idea. I think I quit counting around seven.
I'm not ready to give that up. I'm not ready to give up that feeling and sometimes when I get sad, I think of how much I miss it, living this "normal" life which is the most wonderful normal life and so filled with work and with grandkids an kids and lately with weddings and funerals which means life and which means death which IS life, and with love and even some amount of magic but can there be too much of that other sort of magic? Can there?
Oh hell. I don't even know what I'm saying. I guess just that I'm sad and I want some good magic for a little change and I don't want to regret anything when I go or he goes. I want our lives to have been packed with the goodness we have available to us if we only make room for it. Only make the effort of it.
Last night I even thought about going back to Cozumel by myself. I know, I know, I do this sometimes. I think about how it would be, maybe going for a month and renting a little rooftop studio apartment downtown or staying for a few weeks at a cheap old hotel. Would it be good or would it make me even sadder to be there by myself? I don't know. Probably sadder. I have no idea if the magic would work just for me or if it's the kind of magic that only works for two.
And fuck. I get anxiety in the damn LIBRARY these days.
Agoraphobics aren't really very good at running away, you know.
Well. It just rained again. For some damn reason I am not tired of it yet, this rain. It seems like a blessing, every drop of it. Every roll of thunder, every bit of the gray sky making every blade of grass and leaf as green as a Leprechaun's eyes.
In the Yucatan, they do not have Leprechauns. They have the Alux instead. Another type of small being with magical powers. I have all but seen them.
Well, you've heard all of this before.
I think this is just a time for me to weep if I need to, to do whatever it is I need to do to let my heart rest.
I was at the Target today and the woman checking me out was as beautiful a woman as I've ever seen. Young and whip-thin except for a blooming pregnant belly and I felt a compulsion I've been feeling lately which was to tell her how beautiful she was. She was harried and did not look entirely happy and when our transaction was finished I just came out and said it. I said, "Do you know how beautiful you are?"
She looked at me as if I might possibly be crazy and that's a distinct possibility but she said, "Thank-you."
"Well, you are," I said and tears rose in my eyes. "And you should know that."
And I pulled my keys from my purse and went on out the door.
I believe that whatever ails my heart, it can only help it to be what we here in the south call "sweet." And that includes being sweet to myself and so I shall be. If that means making chicken and dumplings, if that means shuttling my husband around, if that means telling a young pregnant woman that she is beautiful, if that means sitting in my office which is the most beautiful room of this house simply because it IS the most beautiful room in this house, that's what I'm going to do. Or at least, that's what I'm going to try and do. Because life IS all about marriage and birth and dying and cooking and eating and the rain falling and washing the dishes and doing the laundry and dreaming about magical places where the Alux live and where I have loved and been loved in the most profound ways. I think it may be acceptance of what is instead of what I wish it were, whether of weather or location or my own inadequacies. And that includes buying dumplings which will taste better than the ones I make myself.
One more thing- I saw Miss Baby this morning and I haven't seen her for days and I was so relieved and so happy. She flew up onto the bird feeder and ate there and then disappeared again. I think she may be sitting on another clutch of infertile eggs and I have no idea where that may be but she is alive, my little banty hen. My sweet little banty hen.
Happy Friday, y'all.