i just made a batch of three-bean salad and stashed it in the fridge to marinate.
It reminded me of my grandma. She was a rough old broad – toughened by a hard life and a harder marriage. Very few things seemed to bring her joy.
She loved the Price is Right and her Fingerhut Catalog that allowed her to purchase household items on the installment plan. She had an odd attachment to cucumber bath products and she really did like a nice bowl of three-bean salad. i would make a batch at my house and fill a mason jar with some for her. Then? Through the woods to grandmother’s house i went. Sounds cliche.
The path paralleled the creek that issued from our spring house. When you live in the deep country, you learn to keep to things like waterways… a sure-fire way to find your way to civilization. The trees were thick enough that even in broad daylight, the walk seemed to be in sepia tones. Once dusk hit, it became dark indeed and my steps would quicken. If i lingered too long and had to return in the dark, my heart would pound with footfalls… going as fast as i could on the hilly terrain. i tripped on exposed sassafras roots more often than i care to remember. Laying perfectly still… i’d catch my breath with the smell of moist earth and scraped sassafras in my nostrils while i got my bearings and gingerly got up on wobbly legs to brave the rest of the trip.
This is what i thought about today… that path twixt her house and ours and how truly terrifying it could be. The fear was of the unknown… the things that go bump in the night. The fear was real and it was legitimate. Far from city lights, there were things with strong jaws and sharp claws… the wolf, in this case, was real.
i miss that- just a bit- a life where the fears are real rather than imagined. Life gets complicated and the things that make me fearful now are largely of my own fabrication.
Ah well… Grandma is long dead… and she wasn’t someone who showed or received love, so a jarful of three-bean salad was the closest to a “love you” that we ever exchanged.
Little Red Riding Hood by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs