You stand there looking at each other, memorizing each other’s face

Archived | July 7, 2010 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Last show of the season, and it left me a bit sad. Of course there’s another one comin’ down the pipe next week, and I’ll be tuning in, but there is always that little feeling of “bye for now” with the season being over and all. I know life is pretty much meetings and partings stretched out over the years, but gosh, I don’t like the partings part. Most people don’t. I imagine that’s why we stretch out our goodbyes for a good half hour — an hour, even — around here. Just don’t like that feeling of not knowing when we’re going to see each other again.
Thing is, we don’t even really say goodbye. We do this kind of wave thing and say “Yup!” or “Uh-huh!” and give a little hug and a “Well now” and then remember the cake pan or the Jell-O bowl and have to run in and get that once we finally made it to the porch. We get down to the steps and it’s someone’s jacket or purse. Keep delaying it until someone in the car hollers, “Let’s go!” or “We’re never gonna get home at this rate!” and somehow the word “goodbye” gets lost in the chaos and there are more half-hugs and a “Well, now, drive safe” and before anyone can utter a “goodbye” the car roars away and we’re all standing there on the porch, smiling and waving as if we’ve lost something but can’t remember what.
I’ve had a couple REAL goodbyes in my life, the kind where you know, deep inside, you are never going to see this person again, and it’s a painful thing. It just is. You stand there looking at each other, memorizing each other’s face, breathing in each other’s smell and just feeling what it feels like to be near this person, and there’s a bona fide ache that starts out small in your chest and grows until it fills every part of you. Being an optimist, you search for something positive to say, maybe reflect on the time you spent together, or how you might see each other or will at least write, but when you know this is it, there aren’t many happy thoughts waiting to get out. (Unless this is someone you’d prefer to never see again, which is another situation entirely.) So a kind of silence moves on it, and whether you say goodbye or not is beside the point, because “goodbye” is being said for you, by the way things are, and when you at last hug, you feel this person’s heart beat against yours, and you turn, and walk away, and get on your bus or your plane or into your taxi.
Thing is, you’ll part with, in some way, eventually, everyone you meet. Perhaps instead of avoiding the “goodbye” we ought to acknowledge how glad we are we met along the way.
Just a little something to ponder while you’re out there on the porch swing.
Buttermilk Ice Cream
I sent out this recipe just over two years ago. It’s from a sweet lady named Judy who lives in Missouri and it’s a real treat. Seems to me this one deserves a second go-round, so here it is.
Just right for a hot day in July.
1/2 gallon buttermilk
1 cup sugar (can substitute Equal or Splenda)
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple in juice (not syrup)
1 jar maraschino cherries and juice
In a large plastic container (a 9 x 13 carrier works well), mix buttermilk, sugar, crushed pineapple and juice. Halve the cherries and add them and juice to the mixture. Mix well, dissolving the sugar. Put in the freezer for about 5 hours. Take it out and mix it up. Continue freezing awhile and then mixing until you have an icy slush.
If this freezes overnight, it will be hard as cement. In that case, leave it on the counter at room temperature for 20 minutes or so and bash it all up with a spoon until it softens enough to eat. Microwaving briefly is an option.