Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Soul Food

The thing you’re not going to forget about this kitchen is that it has a lot of yellow.

Not the kind of bright yellow we usually associate with kitchens, but a deeper, almost ochre shade. It says something about how she loves: happily consuming all, yet deeply, committedly.

At the table against the wall is where we sit long after meals or tea, talking, laughing, teasing, arguing. I often accidently take the old man’s wooden stool before he gets there, and he will improvise. He and the two boys are gracious in this, making allowance in their home for people who don’t have a claim.

They share space and love like the sunlight that streams in, all day long, through the window framed by white-blue-green curtains. It glitters, bouncing off the floor, lighting the place up.

In the late morning and afternoon, when there’s work being done, the place is like a factory. Sizzling, bubbling, aluminum lids tapping against pots, constant chatter and worship music on the radio.

Sometimes it gets so hot that someone must go round the back door to let the bamboo blind down on the outside. This is the only time I am glad to be barefoot, when the cool cement tiles soothe our bodies, from the soles up.

Those already passed on are missed, their padding through, mewing, zipping between the table and stool legs as they get to bowls of food against the other wall.

Funny there were never any ants in their food but always some in ours.

In the cake cooling on the stove, in the ceramic jar of sugar, in the juice, with the cookies, the chocolate. There is obviously too much sweet stuff here, tempting the ants. I keep spotting them, like the boys sometimes joke they find funny stuff in the food.

“Oh, it’s alright to eat,” she says. “I pray over it as I cook.”

The old man laughs, his voice booming, and the table erupts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

[diary entry]


Today is the kind of day that it doesn’t matter where you are. It never matters where you are, but today is especially so.

It’s cool out, the bench is chilly, but the sun is gently laughing at the cold.

I just shook hands with Bertis Downs. If you know who that is, “Wow!” cus you’re almost as cool as me. If you had to google him, now you know how cool I am. If you’re happy not knowing, your loss.

Athens, in my last few months here, is becoming more and more exciting. I am finally doing not just what I hoped to do here, but much much more. Now, the prospect of finding work here (let alone NY or Boston) is starting to look brighter and brighter.

How fickle the little brain up there!