Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day Four- Pt. 2: Fried taters and corn

On the way back from the beach, I stopped off at the grocery store last night to grab some potatoes and corn. That was much cheaper than the grits that my friend Sheila said would go well with shrimp.  Bruce met this lady down in Hatteras proper who owns a seafood shop.  She cooks up the shrimp for him if he asks real nice.  (I can't imagine him not sounding nice.)  I thought cooking something to accompany his meal was the least I could do to say thank you for helping me with the previous day's move.  Besides, I don't think either of us minded having some company.

I cut up the potatoes, put some oil in the pan and pretended my coleman was my grandmaw's stove and that my pan was sitting next to a pot of pinto beans and some homemade corn bread was about to come steaming out of the oven.

Right around that time, Bruce rolled in from his day on th beach; motorcycle fastened firmly on the bed of his truck along with his beach chair and cooler.  I asked him how fried taters and some corn would go along with that shrimp of his and he said great.  He had to go pick it up in about a 1/2 hour.  Everything takes longer on the Coleman so that timing would work out just right.  Besides, you can't rush fried tater perfection.

My pan was only big enough to cook so many at a time, so when Bruce made it back with his shrimp, I had only about a spoonful for each of us finished.  I figured seconds may be appropriate, so while we ate, I threw some more on the stove.  Bruce brought over paper plates for us both to eat from and his own silverware so as not to dirty mine.  Of all the things I packed, apparetly I forgot the ketchup so he brought me a couple of packets of that, too.  He seemed to have the simplicity thing down.  I sure could take a few lessons from him there.

Over dinner, we talked quite about our families and and lives past.  Seems Bruce was an alcoholic but when one day he realized what it was doing to his family, he decided to sober up.  That was about 26 years ago and another difficult feat to hurdle.  His resiliency is astounding, and I don't think it comes from military training.

The vegetarian conversation always comes up over food so we closed that gap.  I told Bruce about the 20/20 special I saw as a teenager and how it was as much a health choice as anything.  He seemed to be worried that I would starve.  I don't know if it was solely because of the vegetarian thing because that's when he asked me, "so is your dad worried about you [being out on this journey]?"  It was becoming apparent that was thinking about me as he would his own daughter in the same situation.  I told him, "of course my dad's worried about me.  My whole family is worried about me, but they live and support me in whatever I do, and I felt I needed to do this."   I also told him that I hated it that my family worried about me and that was the reason I try to be as cautious as I can be.  

Throughout dinner, I kept popping up to check on the taters.  At this point, they were ready to be served up.  Luckily, Bruce was ready for another helping, as was I...they were mighty good taters.  It makes me happy when people like to eat what I cook. 

I divulged a little about myself and my reasons for coming to be here, mostly about how stress was starting to have a negative impact on my health and how I was worried that I'd keel over soon if I didn't do something about it.  Seemed he knew from personal experience what I was talking about.      

Bruce is an account by training.  He only had so long to take advantage of the GI bill, so when it was coming to an end, his coursework lent itself to an accounting major.  My mom wanted to be an archaeologist, but when she got pregnant with my sister, accounting seemed to be the path laid out or her.  I didn't tell Bruce about that, but I should have.  Also like my mom, he didn't want to go on and get his CPA, so he became the controller for a company.  He had it pretty well there because he was like the second in command and the head honcho didn't care if he wore jeans to work.  (I knew I liked Bruce for a good reason.)  When bosses changed, Bruce couldn't wear jeans to work anymore, both literally and metaphorically.  It affected his health so much that when he was fired, he was never happier in his life.  His wife said that he was the only man who came home from being fired with such a huge grin on his face.  That's when he dusted off his woodmaking tools and started his furniture business.  I guess I need get out my guitar so I can learn "Jesus Was A Capricorn" or write a tune or two of my own.

There's something about that Bruce that made me want to talk to him all evening long, but it was nearing the time when I make my nightly round of familial calls and I still had some cleaning up to do.  Even with his paper plates, I managed to dirty every dish and utensil I brought; but, that's me.

As he headed across the way, he said he'd have some milk leftover and would give it to me when he pulled out in the morning.  Once again I thanked him and told him not to worry, that I would not starve to death.    

I've spoken more to my family in the last week and spent more time with my friends on the last month than I have in three months combined.  Being so busy all the time made me feel like a bad daughter, granddaughter and friend.  It feels good to be getting better at that.  Unfortunately, it makes my family miss me more than they ever have.  When Bruce leaves, I have a feeling it'll make me miss them even more, too.  

1 comment:

  1. Maya, sounds like you are meeting interesting and nice people. Love reading your posts. Keep 'em up!