Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Good Night for Gumbo

It’s cold in Rossville, Georgia. Well, I mean not Wisconsin cold, but 24 night and 42 day feels cold. Maybe those 10 years I spent in Chiclayo Peru has lowered my tolerance for cold.

And speaking of Peru, that’s where Maribel is now. She wanted to spend the holidays and her father’s birthday with her family. I wasn’t ready to return to Peru. Not enough time has elapsed. If I went back now it would feel as if I had never left. I wouldn’t appreciate it. It’s kind of an - absence makes the heart grow fonder, if that makes sense. So Maribel is in Peru with family and I’m alone. That’s not all bad.

I am in a situation where I can completely ignore Christmas. If Maribel were here I would have to deal with a tree, lights, decorations, cards and that interminable Christmas music. It is a scientifically proven fact that having to listen to ‘Have a Holly Jolly Christmas’ more than 30 times per day is the leading cause of tonsiloptis of the blow hole. And of course everyone knows that listening to Johnny Cash’s or Neil Diamond’s versions of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ results in instant insanity.

Another advantage is that I didn’t have to wait until midnight to eat Christmas dinner. That has been the tradition in Peru for years. Probably no one knows why anymore. Turkey is the traditional main course. The turkey is covered with a marinate that has also come down through the years. I am confounded as to why. To me that marinate ruins a perfectly good gobbler.

I didn’t have turkey for Christmas. I went to a local grocery store and cruised the aisles hoping that something would jump out at me. In the checkout line my basket contained a 4 ½ lb fresh chicken, a package of instant mashed potatoes and a can of cranberries. The woman in front of me had much more. She dropped some of it on the floor. As I was helping her pick it up she remarked that her family had insisted that she make her famous gumbo tonight to “take off the chill”. Now, I don’t know gumbo from shoe polish but to make conversation I remarked that it was indeed a good night for gumbo, and then as an afterthought jokingly asked, “Where did you say you live”?

That woman reacted to my comment as if it was the funniest thing she had ever heard. Then she used it as a segue to talk about her gumbo, in a volume intended to be heard by everyone in line. I was on my way out of the store when I heard a loud voice behind me say, “Now don’t you let me see you following me to my car, ha ha”! I replied without turning, “Then don’t look.” There was much laughter.

Happy Holidays to all!