So poor Laura really cut her hand pretty good while she was cutting some bread for sandwiches today. She blamed it on the knife being dull. Who knows if that’s the case or not, but being the good husband I am, I said well we’ll just go ahead and get a new set of knifes, since our previous set was quite cheap. We were also running a bit low on Band-Aids. So tonight, we went and bought a new knife set, along with ahem a Band-Aids. Boy what the cashier had to be thinking. I decided to grab Laura some gum too, that way it didn’t quite look so bad…heh. What lives we live.
It was a Saturday evening in early October of 2003 when the the title was coined. My mother was recovering from a surgery that left her with nearly two feet of stitches along her front. Miles and I made the decision that my place was with her during that time. He gets my vote for friend, husband, and man of the year, every year, for his understanding and compassion.
I am mesmerized by the order and timing of life.
In early July of 2003, Mom mentioned in passing that she felt a bump on her tailbone. It wasn’t a big deal to any of us, as she had discovered many harmless cysts over the years. My family flew here for our wedding in mid-July. Upon her return, she commenced the barrage of routine tests that come with finding a bump. To be honest, I had all but forgotten it existed. My mother is my rock; I was quite simply unable to fathom anything being seriously wrong.
I still remember the pitch of her voice as she told me they were ordering more tests. I still remember the chills running along my limbs. What followed was a period of uncertainty. My mind was very firmly set that this was not Cancer. I did not know of any member of my family having ever had the disease. I stubbornly believed this until the very last moment when another phone call contradicted my reasoning. It’s strange to look back on a period less than two years ago and be able to say the words that I have heard my grandparents say so often in recollection of simpler times. “It was a different world then.”
Following her surgery, Mom’s recovery was difficult. Her strength reached through and carried her, but I’ve never been closer to my mother than I was in the days when our roles were reversed from my infancy…when I was the nurturer. Often, I wonder if I ever truly understood love until then. The experience changed me, and made me a better person.
Besides the physical weakness and pain, she had to come to grips the the enormity of what happened to her in the operating room, and with the months and years to come. That Saturday was a bad day. She wept constantly, and we were disarmed. Finally, my dear Aunt Debbie thought of something happy to say. “Your favorite casserole! I’m making Tuna Noodle Casserole tomorrow night!”
Mom, sitting beside me and holding my hand, sniffed into a tissue and erupted in giggles. “Tuna Nooda!” was how it came out, and the air thinned as we all enjoyed a good belly laugh after such a doleful day. We’ve known it as such ever since. It’s silly and stupid, and it summons such a dear memory to me.
I still catch myself calling it “tuna nooda”. Miles, knowing the story, encourages me not to stop.
I have been rather inundated with work as of late. With a headache looming tonight, I stepped away from the laptop. To clear my head, I decided to prepare dinner, as I find the chopping of vegetables very relaxing…read into that what you will.
Anyway, I finished slicing the zucchini, green peppers, and such. I threw them in a large plastic bowl. Atop them, I added Italian dressing and black pepper. The idea was to coat everything and then broil it in the oven for pita sandwiches with parmesan and parsley. This was why I grabbed a plastic bowl (lighter weight) with an accompanying cover…logic is my strong suit, which is why this retelling is all so very sad.
Just then, I was struck with inspiration for a fresh layout direction. My mind occupied by this exciting new idea, I grabbed the bowl with both hands, and exuberantly began the shaking process. I say “began” instead of “finished” because it took all of two seconds to realize that I had neglected to cover the bowl and that the floor was decorated with a confetti of vegetables.
Miles and I have been playing powerful rounds of Frisbee in recent days, and we are really quite good—or approximately 10,000 times better than we were the first time we played together. Whipping the saucer across 60-70 yards during a period of thirty minutes or more is quite energizing.
I’m very accurate with my delivery, but something was lacking last night. I felt weighed down and lethargic. The wind was wreaking havoc (not something that usually deters our accuracy), the light was failing, and the rain was looming. I saw images of the wuss trying to spit like the ‘manly’ men, and then brushing his shoulder quickly so as to remove the wayward saliva before those other men noticed. My tosses were akin to that wayward saliva.
On came the rain. The ominously heavy clouds blanketed our park area, and the thunder growled grumpily. (as if a growl can be anything but grumpy) The lighting scattered to obscurity and the air became hazy, murky if you will. It felt like one of those graveyard scenes from the silver screen, fog raising from the ground, moans materializing from the trees.
It was eerie at best, and the atmosphere sent chills travelling along our spines. We were drenched, a little shocked at the sudden onslaught of the storm, and yet, skittish all the same. Then, it happened! I threw the Frisbee uncertainly at my partner, in a silent query of, “do you want to go in for the night, even though we’ve scarcely been doing this 10 minutes?” Through wind and rain, my projection endured; through wind and rain, my pass landed directly in Miles’ hands. He gazed my way, and through the veiled distance I still detected his astonishment.
He returned the throw, which I ran to catch and then bulleted one back. Bulls eye again! It continued on this way for ten minutes before a flash of overhead lightning had us scurrying toward home. Miles draped an arm around my shoulders as we cleared the road and looked upon me with respect. I shrugged and replied the only way this Wisconsinite could: “I am the Brett Favre of Frisbee.”
Tonight, the Phillips’ dinner table hosts a “Mediterranean meets the Far East” extravaganza! I am eager to witness this landmark event, as the egg roll wrapper attempts to craft the calzone. Eager, and not a little curious. Do wish me luck, won’t you?