A Remembrance of Things Past is one of my favorite all time books. It's by Marcel Proust. It's quite a read. I'm not sure why it made such an impact on me. I read it my senior year. I had an early class with Walter Fowlie a renoun Proustian authority. I think it was on Friday after Thursday night Theta Chi kegs--and I don't think I ever missed a class (I was late, had wet hair and came directly from the Theta Chi section, but that's a whole other story which I may or may not have told). But I digress, I think the reason that I loved this book so much was that sense memory is something that I cherish. I may not always take time to smell the roses, but when I do, I remember what they smelled like. I remember the feel of the breeze or the warmth of the sun or the rocking of the dock.
So last night I made what our family fondly calls Guacamole Chicken which is really "Cumin Dusted Chicken" a la Becca Worple.
As I dusted the chicken and smelled the cumin, I was transported back to the kitchen on Thallata. I remember being there with Becca, who asked me a Beccaesque question like "oh that was tablespoons?" We are giggling in the kitchen and glance out the window to see our friends lounging on the dock. It's our turn to cook. I hear the boats buzzing by, the waves lapping, and the crack of laughter from below. Shoot, what are we missing?
And I think of cooking on the rocks on the charcoal grill where there was a 50/50 chance there was charcoal, fluid and no broken ankle. I remember the steak with the asian slaw. I remember drinking bloody marys and going on a boat ride. I remember that first beer opened on the boat on the way, the anticipation. Of course I remember standing with a pillow covering my front and nothing in the back, or waving nude to the passing boats in the twilight (now there's a sense memory for someone!). I can smell the living room where we are all squished around the table, drinking wine and laughing until our stomach hurts. A certain person stuffed a certain substance down her pants, someone made out behind the bowling alley and who can forget Hank?
And I wanted to be there. I wanted to be at the grocery store buying our list. Or calculating 3 bottles of wine for me per day times 4 days equals--ha! a case! Or loading the boat. Or looking for snakes. Or talking loudly to scare Phelps the bear out of the way. I wanted to be among friends. Well more than that, a very special group of ladies who may not have been the best of friends to start, but who bonded over sprained ankles, spider bites, secrets revealed, fear of snakes, love of wine, dislike of shrimp, love of shrimp. I will always remember at least 1 of Cosmos top ways to get your guy _______. And laughter. And simplicity.
And I felt happy. I felt the peace I felt lying in the sun on the wooden dock with no cares in the world. Chardonnay at 10 a.m.? Why not, I just had a big ol' breakfast of biscuits and gravy. Then I think I'll jump out of the window into the icy cold water. Or dodge giant underwater boulders for a little ride around the sound. Or kayak for a while. Oh shit, there's the snake.
And I realized, we will probably not ever have that magical experience again. But thanks to that cumin, I went on a little vacation last night as I cooked dinner. And I felt happy.
And I feel happy as I think about it today. Thank you, Becca, for sharing your special place and bringing a rag tag group of ladies together to create some really awesome sense memories.