Friday, December 02, 2022

I Identify as an Antique

This post was prompted by a comment from Sabine.

A few nights ago, I was making Turkey Pot Pie for supper. Pretty predictable two days after Thanksgiving. The biscuit topping was waiting in the wings, the onions were sizzling away in the pan with the carrots and celery, World Cup soccer a dull roar in the background. God was in his heaven. All was, for now, right with the world. Until New York Times Cooking instructed me to "Add flour."

Whoa Betsy! Flour? What flour?

Nowhere had I seen flour on the ingredients list though, now that I thought about it, it made a lot of sense the next step being to add turkey stock.

Off I trot to consult the oracle and sure enough, there it is, at the top of the second page:1/4 cup of flour, missed by the printer. You probably don't give a rat's ass about my turkey pot pie - you're wondering where Sabine fits in. Well, while I was there the oracle told me she'd left a comment.

Another one? What more could there be to say? Curious, I hunted it down - and laughed. Her new comment was a comment on my reply to someone else's comment. 

Stay with me, I'm getting there.

 I'm a believer in providing backstory, to the OC's ongoing chagrin. I want you to smell those onions, to hear that sizzle, to be in my head while I untangle the story that I know is in there, somewhere. I think one of my ancestors might have been a seanachai.

Sabine wondered (I could picture her eyes rolling in much the same way the OC's and Youngest Son's have often done when they've made similar suggestions) if it might be time I tried making oatmeal the easy way - in the microwave, in the interests of not burning the stuff while I run off to make the bed or such while it simmers. As has happened. 

What the menfolk fail to understand is that here, under their noses, is a genuine antique - me. In currently popular parlance you might say I identify as an antique. They'll appreciate it after I'm gone. When the sobbing is over.

And what qualifies me as an antique you might reasonably ask? 

Mostly my memories.

 How many of you out there remember hearing the rattle of the milk truck every morning as a child? We'd leave the empties on the front porch every night and the milk man would replace them in the dim light of dawn next morning - with lots of clattering and scant respect for those still sleeping.

Or how about the coalman?  At the first chill of winter, he'd come clopping down our road with his horse and cart, and shoulder bags of coal to our coal shed in the back garden. He was the closest thing I'd ever seen to a black man. He'd probably been a white baby, but his pores were so filled with coal dust now that the only white in his face was the whites of his eyes. I always felt sorry for the horse who usually looked to be, if you'll pardon the vulgarity, three farts from death.

And then there were the chimney sweeps with their black brushes. 

And curly-haired Francis, the breadman, in his van and his green shop coat delivering fresh bread to our door every evening. 

Paddy the post delivering mail on his bicycle every day of my childhood. He was still there, still on his bicycle, still delivering the mail when I'd come home for a break from college.

The OC is a fan of all things modern and innovative. He has had moderate success dragging me into the 21st. century. But not without a struggle. The food processor lived in its original box for many months before I approached it cautiously, as you might a wild animal that could  attack at any moment. I did tame it though and now we are on friendly terms. But I still don't completely trust the microwave. It's all very handy for reheating cups of tea that have grown cold, but cooking my oatmeal in it? It just wouldn't seem right.

The most convincing proof of my claim though is the pony and trap. Whenever I spent any time out the country with my Granny we went everywhere in the pony and trap. And if it was hay saving time, I'd get to ride on the horse drawn float to bring the hay ricks back to the barn with my uncles.

There's a blessing I've often heard, or is it a curse? "May you live in interesting times."

I spent my childhood in wonderfully interesting times. It never occurred to me that things could change so much in one lifetime. I miss them now. "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone," as the song goes. 

These days I live in the present, thankful that I'm still here, thankful for all our blessings, thankful for our modern gadgets, even for the microwave, because how would I warm up my cold cup of tea without it?

Cheers Sabine!