Three things you need to know to "get" the story I have written.
1.)When my mother - Sally - cooks something it is always enough for twenty people. We call them "Sally Batches".
2.)As long as I've been alive, my mother hasn't had many friends. But, the ones that have come and gone over the years have always been, well, peculier.
3.)This story stems from an e-mail I got from her. She was very upset about having hit a kitten on the way home. She stopped at the only house around, and asked if it was their's. The old man told her that people just dump litters of kittens out in the country, and not to be too upset, and that he would bury the kitten, like he has for the past twenty years.
Out of those three things, and a very warped sense of humor, I have written,
The story of Sally and Mrs. Mally.
The old man appeared out of nowhere carrying a weather-beaten shovel. His green faded overalls hung low and saggy in the back, and one of the metal clasps in front was missing. His wife, a hunch-backed old woman, walked as if her left leg was shorter than her right. Her hair was pure white and pulled into a loose bun held together with bobby pins. She hobbled towards a simmering black kettel in the side yard and stirred it with the most enormous wooden spoon Sally had ever seen.
„I‘m Mr. Mally," he said in a consoling voice. „Don't worry none about that kitten. Happens all the time. People just think those poor little things can take care of themselves, and they leave whole litters of ‘em out here in the country. And, well, they wind up getting hit by a car.„ Sally listened to old Mr. Mally, still in shock from hitting the kitten. She didn‘t know what had happened. It was as if the kitten had actually flown through the air and landed in front of her car. „Can I interest you in one of the missuses fine crocheted couch throws?“ Mr. Mally asked, startling Sally back to reality. „She spins the yarn herself. Ain't nothin' softer than kitty yarn." He spit a stream of brown chewing tobacco out of the right side of his mouth and pointed towards a green roadside stand.
"Got free samples of jerkitty today. Smoked-n-dried right down yonder in what used to be the old outhouse. Just the right size for a smoke house." He hooked both thumbs into the sides of his overalls, gave a Skoll stained grin and continued with his sales pitch.
"And everything here is Or-ganic." That's just how he pronounced it, with a pause between the Or and the Ganic.
His wife gave a friendly wave as she stirred the kettle. "Won't you stay fer stew? Got plenty. With your hit, that makes five today. I'll have to freeze it if you don't stay."
Sally's eyes darted from the makeshift roadside stand, to the old woman, and finally stopped on the still warm road kill.
"Name's Nellie Mally," the woman said hobbling towards her. "I always make too much. My young-ens call it a Mally Batch when I cook."
Sally couldn't believe what she was hearing. It was like the good Lord himself had brought these two woman together. Destined to be best friends.
"Well?" Nellie asked her. "You gonna stay? Can't you speak woman?"
Sally gave a sly grin. "Oh I beg your pardon." She said sarcastically. "Guess the cats got my tongue."
This made both women laugh so hard they wet themselves right there, together, by the side of the road.
And so began the friendship between Sally and Mrs. Mally. Sally sold her trailer and moved into the old farmhouse. Old Mr. Mally spent his time raising kittens and putting them by the side of the road when he heard cars approaching. Sometimes giving them a friendly nudge, or toss into the oncoming car. Most folks bought a little Jerkitty, or handmade scarf. Sally and Nellie sat on the porch sipping lemonade and spinning "karn" as they so called it. (and giggled like schoolgirls every time they said it. Sometimes they would say it for no reason at all but to have a little laugh. Karn. Tee-Hee, Karn.) If they weren‘t spinning and giggling they were busy cooking up Sally-Mally-Batches of soup or stew.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Sharon and I became friends the day she came over, handed me a cup of coffee and said, “What the hell is up with your husband’s sweat pants. Is he waiting for a flood?”
“Haven’t you heard? They’re all the rage. I call them Capweats.” - And when I said it, I sounded like Barbara Walters or Elmer Fudd.
The famous sweat pants were an indiscernible shade of green, and the length of a pair of capris. He wore them with black dress socks and sneakers. (Why would I make that up.)
The thing with my husband is, he cannot part with his old clothes. They are “perfectly fine”. And hell hath no fury like Uwe’s anger if he finds I have pillaged his sock and underwear drawer and thrown out the pairs that crunch when you stretch them. Elastic shouldn’t crunch. And that, my friends, is a fact. If we have an argument and I want to really piss him off, I head for his underwear drawer. He follows. “Liz, don’t you dare. I’m warning you!”
I take out a pair of his mommy -wear (Underwear his mother bought for him back in the 90’s) and rip them. Childish? Yes. Effective? You betcha.
My friend Trixie’s husband has the same 100% polyamide white Adidas shorts as my husband. I can hear some of you reading this squealing “Oh, Oh! The one’s with three black stripes on the sides and a draw-string waist!” The very same. Bikini cut and lined with a 100% cotton banana hammock. (Thank God.) I dare say they are pre-1980's. The label says Made in West Germany. And I am willing to bet money his mother bought those too.
What prompted me to write this? Well, the green sweatpants are long gone. (A tragic accident involving gasoline and matches.) However… He went out, and bought the same sweatpants. (Adidas, by the way, with three black stripes down the leg. Just like the shorts.) And while I’m at it, how do men manage to replace their old clothes with exactly the same thing? Anyway, as I was saying - he replaced the sweatpants ten years ago, and now, they too are the length of capris. It made me think of Sharon, handing me that cup of coffee. And all the cups of coffee we had together thereafter. Her’s black, mine with vanilla-toffee flavored creamer.
Just a little trip down memory lane.
Well folks, Uwe has just changed out of his sweats, and left the house. Time for me to wrap this up. The gasoline and matches are ready. Oh don’t worry, there’s an Adidas store downtown. Unless his mother has already bought him a pair…
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Every year it’s the same. We go stateside to visit my family, and I am mocked for my excessive recycling. I wash out the yoghurt cups, and put them in the blue recycling box. Empty cans, plastic laundry soap bottles, gallon milk jugs, glass, and paper - all in the blue box. The problem is, the blue box is the size of a laundry basket. After roughly three days, it’s full. Really full.
I’m puzzled. Everyone in town has a recycling box, yet none are ever full. (Except for mine.) They are put out on garbage day next to a “family size” (it could hold an entire family) trash can.
This got me wondering about the whole Go Green! slogan that is popping up everywhere. Google to the rescue. Ahh Haa… Going green means switching to solar power and hybrid cars. Turning down your thermostat, and being more energy efficient. Well, that makes sense. I googled further, and came upon an interesting website.
It is a list of America’s 10 greenest cities.
Austin Texas is #1 on the list. The city hopes to convert some of it’s vehicles to hybrids. I think they should make all the cars like Fred Flintstones. Just cut out the floorboards so the folks can get a good running start. It would also help the obesity problem in America.
The obesity problem, however, is actually helping “Green America”. Boston, Massachusetts, #3 on the list, hopes to generate its own power in one community by utilizing the used cooking oil from area restaurants. Heiliges Schmalz! Americans eat A LOT of fried food. Chicken wing grease alone could power most of Boston. Add to that fried fish, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, and super-sized portions of french fries and I think we could light up the entire east coast. Seattle, Washington is spending $30 million to be the best bicycling community in the country. I thought Seattle was known for its rain. Let’s hope their raincoats are environmentally friendly, made from recycled plastic, or possibly the cooking oil from Boston.
From now on, I am going to do more than just sort my garbage to help save the planet.
That’s right, I am going green! I am switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, turning down the heat, and hanging the laundry up instead of using the dryer. I wonder if I should write to Angela Merkel about turning the Schnitzel grease into energy? Yes, I think I will.