The Last One to Fly Away

Archived | May 8, 2015 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It was just our youngest daughter and me — everyone else was either in college or out doing motivational talks — and we made the best of the day. The surprise came when she suggested we go out for dinner. Not take-out, which we love, but OUT. To the Chinese buffet. “I’ll pay with my gift certificate,” she said. Oh my. She’d gotten several from friends for Christmas, and she wanted to spend one on me.

So we went and we were there over an hour, feasting on lo mein and breaded shrimp with coconut sauce and sesame chicken and cream cheese wontons. And as we ate, we talked. And talked. Social anarchism, Noam Chomsky, existentialism, what she should pack for college next fall, how many people might attend her open house, atheism, conservation, astrophysics, Kirkegaard, Nietszche, her favorite band Muse, how fast summer will go, where will she work. A bit about relationships, and how gender roles can be a real mindbender sometimes.

The man had been sitting behind her, watching us, smiling. I thought he might know us, and when he got up to leave, he stopped at our table. “I wasn’t eavesdropping, but I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation. I want you to know I appreciate it,  and every now and then I pay for someone’s dinner, and I’d like to pay for yours.” He told us his name was “Carl” and he looked intelligent and kind, and he was, and we shook his hand and thanked him, and he disappeared.

It was a glorious blissful hour for me, sitting across from the last one to fly away, our beautiful young daughter whose intelligence makes mine feel dusty, whose spirit is radically alive, full of fire. Different from the other two, and alike. As we sat there talking I saw glimpses of the grown woman she’ll be more clearly now, and I felt a calm in my chest.

I’m not counting days, or weeks, even, but soon I will drive a long while and drop her off with her books and bags and posters and socks and CDs, and yes, it will be rough for a while. But, I must say, this young woman is ready to go. And what a thing that is.

This is salad is about the best thing you’ll eat this spring. Take it to your next potluck or picnic, and bring copies of the recipe. Seriously.

Pepper Bean Salad

1 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained
1 15 oz bag super sweet frozen niblet corn or 2 cups fresh corn
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded & chopped  optional: 1cup, about 2 peeled & diced jicama

¼ cup chopped cilantro (optional)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 T fresh pepper or more if you like it hot
1 tsp sea salt
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup wine vinegar
2 limes, juiced (should be around ¼ to ⅓ cup; if more, what the heck, throw it in.)

In large bowl (this makes a very large dip), combine the beans, corn, onion, garlic, bell peppers & jalapeño peppers. Toss well. In container with lid put dressing ingredients. Shake well to mix. Right before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.