Tag Archives: food

Hmmmm, so this is adulthood.

being young

Do you ever catch yourself thinking you would like to do something but hesitate because that is for “grown ups” and then have to think, gee, I’m 64 I can do that now?  Surely I am not the only one who has trouble reconciling the fact of another birthday with the act of actually growing older.  Now this is different from knowing I actually look older (can’t deny that gray hair and wrinkles!) but something in my mind.  It may be connected to the inability to remember that my babies are grown.  It is always a shock to see Amanda as a grown up woman with a teenager of her own and Luke with his receding hairline.

This phenomenon really struck me one day when Nort and I were talking about our parents.  I said that I remembered thinking that someday I would grow up and get to have a real cocktail party.  Something very Mad Men like.  With a pretty dress, canapes and cocktails, but no cigarettes.  Or having a cocktail hour in the evening.  That was such adult stuff to me.  My precious husband just stared at me and then said, “Linda, you are over 60, how old do you think you have to be?”  Huh?  I’m 60?  I’m an adult?  Mind blown.

When we were kids, Mother loved asparagus (I think Daddy did too, but mostly I remember how much Mother loved it).  But back then it was either very expensive or they were very young and broke.  They would buy asparagus for special occasions but it was reserved for the adults.  “This is an adult food, you wouldn’t like it” was the explanation and we accepted it just like we did anything else we were told was for adults only.  Now it could be that she knew it was taste we would need to develop, but I really think it was to savor and enjoy something that was theirs alone.

Fast forward several years.  I love, love, love lamb chops.  A lovely lamb chop and some mint jelly is a thing of beauty.  But, they are outrageously expensive.  They were so when I was a young mother and still are today.  Lamb chops are for very special occasions (like asparagus).  I would buy two lamb chops for me and then fix pork chops for the kids.  “This is an adult food.  You wouldn’t like it so I fixed something I know you like” was how I explained it to them.  And you know what?  They accepted that explanation.  Amanda loves a lamb chop now because she knows she is all grown up.  Luke still doesn’t like them.

I am not the only one who uses the “grown up” card.  When the girls were very young, Jana, Shannon, Amanda and I were shopping in Memphis.  Jana and I got a Coke and of course the girls wanted one of their own.  Now this is when we were younger and both of us definitely on the broke side of finances, and while one Coke was in the budget, two were not, especially knowing they would not finish a whole one.  “Oh girls, you can’t have one.  It is just for adults and illegal for kids to have one in public.  I’ll let you have a drink of mine,” said Jana.   And bless their little hearts, they fell for it.

Now, there are somethings that I figured out on my own.  As a teenager my need to immediately answer a phone (it might be a boy!) was a given.  Of course, this was back when a phone call was something still kind of special.  Since Daddy was the town pharmacist, we had to have a private line and not a party-line so we always knew a ringing phone was for a member of the Barber family.  This lasted for years.  The phone would ring and I would answer.  No question.  Same thing with door bells/knocks.  You hear it, you respond.  Then, one night I was watching a new episode of Hill Street Blues.  (When you either watched or had to wait until re-runs.)  My phone rang and of course, I had no idea who it was.  Maybe it was someone I wanted to talk to, maybe not.  Either way, it was going to interrupt me.  Friends, I did not answer the phone and the world did not end.  I staked a claim on adulthood.  I also discovered I did not have to answer the door if I did not want to as happened while watching Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (don’t judge).   So liberating being an adult!

Laura and I laugh so often about the “old hides” we used to work with, me at Whirlpool and she at Trane.  They seemed to be ancient and we could not imagine ever being that old, crabby and still working.  Dear Lord, we are so much older now than they were then.  When we talk about little old ladies and old men we knew and realize that they were only in their forties at the time, it is still such a shock to us.  I can remember when we first moved to Mulberry and how happy my grandparents were that we were so much closer to them.  My daughter is older now than Mother was then and I am so excited that she can meet us half way to see our granddaughter.  How did that happen?

There are so many things about being a real grown-up that I have embraced over the past years, so many things that either I wanted to do or that I realized were really necessary.  I have discovered that my parents were right about a lot of stuff we do to make our lives and the lives of our families better, whether we want to do them or not.  There are a lot of things I have let go of with gratitude since I am an adult and don’t have to do to be “cool.”  I will still continue to learn for my own sake, not because I have to go to school; I keep my room clean (well, sort of) for my own sense of peace; I don’t eat a candy bar and Coke and call it lunch (most of the time) for my own health.

There are perks to being right in the middle of the age of gray.  I know that I don’t have to measure my husband’s love by what he buys me, all I have to do is see how he looks at me.  I have seen what wonderful people my children turned out to be and I have a precious grandchild to spoil rotten.  I don’t have to put up with rudeness from people just because they are older than I am.  I have learned to love my body for what it does for me, not how it looks to others (most of the time) and that good health is more important than I ever thought it would be.  And of course SENIOR DISCOUNTS!

I don’t think I will ever fully realize that I am an adult, grown-up person since I usually don’t feel that way, no matter what the calendar or my mirror says.  Even when I am lamenting some weird new trend young people have embraced and worse, say something out loud, I catch myself saying “I sound like an old lady” and let it go.  Because darn it, I’m not an old lady.  Also, there are so many things I look forward to doing that are adult things and I know I still have so much to learn.  Have you reached that magic point of full adulthood?  What made you realize that you were there?  Will you let me know when I join you?

 

How to return to your twenties.

My husband graduated from Louisiana Tech in 1976.  He and his fraternity brothers and other college friends were in their early twenties in the 70’s.  There is a group that have remained friends and in contact over the past decades.  If one does the math, it is pretty quick to see that if they have not turned 60 by now, they are going to soon.  A couple of the guys decided that such a mile-stone must be celebrated, and celebrated BIG.  After all, with all they did then and have done since, it is a miracle that any of them have reached the Age of Gray.  So, thanks to the modern marvels we have embraced,  emails flew,  Facebook pages boomed and calls circulated.  Before you knew it there was a plan.  And oh what a plan it was.  Tom (and his lady Laura) offered his lovely Galveston lake house for a gathering place.  Another took on the task of moderating available dates.  One plotted and planned what to eat.  Still another knew there needed to be music.  Now, none of these guys are slackers when it comes to pulling something like this together, they have had years of practice (ask about Brian and Lane’s other birthday parties).  Finally, the weekend came, June 4 thru June 7.  I have not seen Norton so excited in years.  He was online e-chatting, texting and old school phoning. Days off work had been cleared since the first mention of the Bacchanalia on the Bayou.  Attire had been planned and replanned with appropriate hats selected.  Finally, the big day was here.  Our luggage looked like we were headed for the grand European tour.  The camera was fully charged and loaded with two cables for recharging as necessary.  Routes and alternate routes (lots of rain in Texas remember) had been selected and the GPS hooked up just in case.  The car was cleaned out and healthy as an aging car can get.  I grabbed some knitting (since I am a grandmother and it is illegal not to have knitting on a road trip), gave last minute instructions to Luke and the dogs and we were off.  Texas, here we come.

The trip was perfect.  The weather and traffic cooperated like it knew how important this journey was.  We talked all the way down as Norton tried to explain the “family tree” and it’s many branches.  Who was a fraternity brother, who was a roommate, who was a dorm buddy.  Who had moved where and who was married.  There were going to be people he hadn’t seen in too many years.  There were going to be people I’d never met, but felt like I knew due to all the stories I’ve heard (many ended with… and then we took Jerry to the hospital).  As we headed to the Bolivar/Galveston ferry, there were signs to expect a 45 minute wait.  I was not sure Norton would be able to wait that long, but again, fate smiled on us.  We pulled up, got in line and promptly boarded.  [Now this is where I got excited.  My sister and I loved going to Galveston and I think the high point was always the ferry ride.  Getting on the ferry, I was as giggly as Norton had been for weeks.]  Then we were there.  We got out of the car and were nearly to the door when we heard voices from the back.  I wish I could describe the joy I saw on my husband’s face when he said, “I hear them.”

At first there were gentlemanly hugs and handshakes.  There was a chorus of Man You Look Great; a quick refrain of What Happened to Your Hair; and a snappy riff of I’ve Put on Weight Since I Saw You Last.  Drinks were poured and gumbo dished out.  Everyone talked at once telling where they lived and what they were doing now.  Then another couple arrived and it began again.  Pictures of children and grandchildren were exchanged.  Wives were introduced and greeted like old friends.  Plans were almost made and then shelved until everyone arrived, with the exception of a fishing expedition the next morning.  Finally, sometime around 1:00 everyone ran out of steam and those of us staying “on campus” headed to bed.  [As an aside, we had the cutest bunk room provided by a neighbor.  This room was done up in beautiful beachy colors and sported three sets of BUNK BEDS.  There is a reason that plump sixty(plus) old women do not as a routine sleep in the top bunk.  Middle of the night potty breaks are dangerous.  Just sayin.]

By the time I made my way to the coffee the next morning, more friends had arrived and the whole song and dance had begun again.  There were homemade biscuits, jalapeno deer sausage, maple deer sausage and much more for breakfast.  Tom and Lane manned the outdoor kitchen and grill like professionals.  Then it was time for some real talking and story telling.  Every  “Do you remember when we…..” was met with an equal tale, which brought on another story which begat an even wilder one. And even more people arrived. Same song, second verse.  There were boat rides, Seado rides and kayaking in the marsh.   All that whetted appetites so red beans and rice made an appearance.   And more drinks and more food.  Again, Tom, Lane with Jerry acted as chefs.   Fajitas on the grill and crawfish.  The Kahlua and pound cakes did not last long.  There were freshly made tamales, red fish and some blue crab.  At some point there was even pizza . People got in the pool and others got out.  Drinks were poured and annuals passed around and someone even brought an old photo album.  (How some of those pictures were developed back then and not  confiscated is a mystery to all of us)  Somehow, it was 1:00 again and still the only plan made was another surf fishing trip to the beach.

On Saturday evening, we did make it out of the compound for cocktails and appetizers and headed to a great place on the lake.  Some left by boat and some of us by vehicle.  Waterman’s is a very cool place with a loyal following.  Consider me a convert.  Downstairs is the screened/open bar area that is super casual (good for us slugs).  There was a country/Texas band that rocked and a few of our members did “cut a rug”.  Rumor had it that the sunset was spectacular from the upper deck.  Not to miss a great sunset, some of us headed up for the viewing just as the appetizers made their appearance.  Even though I really needed to eat some more, I went up for the view.  It was all it was billed to be, beautiful.  (Don’t worry, we did make it down for wonderful snackys).  For a couple of hours we drifted in various groupings up and down the stairs.  Upstairs we could look off the upper deck and watch the fish in the underwater lights and take in the view.  Downstairs was the band and an equally great view.  No matter where one was, there were even more stories to tell.

People gathered in Galveston from Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Connecticut, Virginia and other parts of Texas.  Charlie brought his girl friend from Germany.  How brave was that!  She had only been in this country about a week and her English was spotty.  Jerry’s wife, Cheryl had some friends from Alabama join us so new friends were made. At best count, at least thirty people congregated at the Cabin on the Bayou (we have t-shirts to prove it).  Greg traveled the farthest from Connecticut and Gary and Debra made it even though Debra was still recovering from surgery. The first of the group started at LA Tech in 1973 and by 1978 most of the group had graduated.   Many different fields were represented in our bunch, from lawyer to engineer to forestry to nursing.   While I refer mostly to the male friends, Wanda proved the exception to the rule.  She was in the thick of it from the beginning and remains so now.  Since she and Reid are core members of the gang, it is a beautiful thing to see them together as an old married couple (with grands!) sharing stories of their youth.

Guitars, drums, microphones and amplifiers also appeared.  Brian, Lane, Ed and Reid still rock. They sang original songs and Led Zepplin.  There were heart felt ballads and raucous guitar solos.  And oh the free form jams!  (I played my painted frog and sang along with gusto). Old men became boys as they  sang and played like they had nearly forty years ago.

When we arrived, there was a group of older, gray haired men and women sitting around reconnecting after too many years.  But with each story told, each song sang and every laugh shared, I watched years fall away, until there was only a group of kids laughing, teasing and loving each other.

Good Times, Good Friends
Good Times, Good Friends
Sundown On The Lake
Sundown On The Lake
Crawfish!
Crawfish!
Jam Session
Jam Session