Summer Salad

I have never been a really good writer, or have been inspired to write like I am with my art, music or adventures.  It’s that feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach that just is pulsing and growing in intensity until you feel like you have to jump out of your chair or just cry out in joy.  This feeling is turned on by something different for everyone.  Though, when it comes to telling a story or trying to make a point through the art of writing I wish I could just have a cord that connected from me to another and I could just upload it.  Unfortunatly this is not possible so please bare with me as I attempt to describe my special experience in the following passage. 

A couple of days ago I was walking through the market with my mother, in search of that’s night dinner and desserts.  As I walked down the worn down dirt paths under a canopy of multi-colored umbrellas I passed what used to be new and foriegn mysteries, are now everyday wonders and enjoyments.   At each stand I know what things are called, how to buy them, and then what to do with them.  On this specific day it was epecially hot and the umbrellas felt like they weren’t helping at all, but I knew the minute we sarted for home with our plastic bags I would be wishing to be under the protection of the umbrellas.  My mother kept asking me what I wanted to eat for dinner and fresh snacks for the coming days.  Like my mother in NY I would usually aswer with I like anything, it’s up to you.   This phrase never helps but yet we always give it.  I ended up picking out fruit that I thought would be refreshing from the hot Thai summer weather, and my mother purchased some fresh vegeatables for me to do with what I want. 

Well that early evening I picked out some vegeatables, washed, chopped and tossed a cool crisp salad for myself.  I didn’t know that that was exactly what I was craving until I took my first bite.  It was like taking a bite of America.  Each ingredient reminded me of something different and obviously precious to me. 

 The carrots reminded me of one early winter when my family was so busy that we didn’t get all of the vegeatables out of the garden before the cold weather.  So one lightly snowing day we all bundled up with our jobs to save the carrots.  My father dug them up and my sister and I were to wash them, and then my mother was to prepare them.  I can’t help to smile and rub my hands together for warmth with the memory of my sister and I standing outside around the wheel barrow full of carrots.  We had to wash with water from the sink in the house because the hose had already frozen.  As we attempted to get the majority of the frozen dirt off before we cleaned them better inside I can remember my sister and I cheering eachother on to get it done before our hands got too numb.  The end result was for that week my mother made many wonderful things with those carrots making it worth the rescue mission.

The lushes tomatoes reminded me of the summer visits to my father’s parents in MD on the water.  I remember one summer their garden did really well and my Omi didn’t know what to do with all of these tomatoes.  It got to the point where we enjoyed eating a big red tomatoe like an apple after lunch in the shade of the beach house with our Opi. When I taste that sweet taste of a tomatoe I get a bite of those days on the beach crabing and hanging in the beach house. 

The onions reminded me of my parents and their intensely and wonderful flavored cooking.  They always put there best into each dish, with something special to give it”pow!”  Sometimes this was garlic, salt, or onions.  I think that I am very lucky to have grown up with amazing cooks as parents always enjoying the different dishes.  I think this is part of why it was easy from the first night here in Thailand to try and enjoy the exotic food. 

Even though my parents are wonderful cooks there are always those few times that each of us in the family has made a mistake or was in a rush and now will never let that one dish down.  For me it was over cooking cookies…regularly, my sister…over cooking toast…my mother I really don’t know…but for my father it was a quick tuna fish salad for a late lunch one day.  So when I tasted that little bit of tuna that I sprinkled on top it reminded me of that night.  Let’s just say that there was no salt left on the shelf, because it was all in our tuna fish sandwhiches. 

Also, I added this squash that is like pumpkin but not really in my salad.  It reminded me of all the past years of carving pumpkins before Halloween.  On the years it was warm we would be out on the porch stradling our pumpkins as we feircly scooped out the messiness inside with large kitchen spoons.  And for those cold years we all squished in on our kitchen floor strewn with news papers and pumpkin seeds.  As we carved our scary and goofy faces out, we enjoyed our family and friends in a warm kitchen filled with laughter and smiles. 

With every bite I was reminded of something different but over all each memory was tied together with the bouncy lettuce and simple balsamic dressing I was surprised to find myself reminded of summer visits and parties at a family friend’s house.  These summer surprises were always something my family and I would look forward to.  So when the day came it was a well-known drill my mother would get the B&B guests all set and on their way, my sister would walk the dogs, my father would close the houses up, and I would get the everything into the car including our home-made dish to pass, swim wear, sunblock, frisbee, and lawn chairs.  We would make our way to their house with the windows rolled down basking in the afternoon sun and the 99.9 FM Rock n’ Roll station on.  When we got there we would spend the day with in wonderful company playing volleyball or soccer, walking through their artistic garden, eating amazing food on their balcony all the way till the night, when we would curl up around the firepit enjoying jigs on a flute and home-made fruit pie.  Eventually we would have to say good bye and we would all pile back into the car and make our way down the mountain where their home sits.  As we wove down the windy road avoiding frogs, my sister would fall asleep on me and I would have my forehead leaning against the window watching the fireflies pass by as well as enjoying the star filled sky and smiled as the moon followed us home safe.  There sitting in the car there was a sigh of tired happieness…a special feeling that I will always share with my family no matter where we go or don’t go. 

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