...and we are talking about the state of the country over dinner and getting agitated and dreaming about living in Sweden where everything seems to be going smooothly - note extra o in smooth for effect and my seventeen year old son talks on about Che Guevara and the documentary he saw on t.v. last night about New Orleans and the aftermath of the hurricane and we can't stop talking until the night draws in and our bellies are full and our minds are on overload and nothing comes to any conclusion and such is the discourse that winds its way on this disjointed evening around this table.
Small dog sits like a trophy on my lap and the beagle, lately nicknamed Slim Jim because he has lost four kilograms and so celebrates his new waistline by pacing around the wood floor looking for tidbits to gather into his empty frame.
Early on in the evening Friend calls and tells us over a glass of wine or two how he admires our parenting - I wish him to participate in dinner conversation, an event that he might regret and yet he lingers like an extra in a film set and I find myself telling him that I am in the makings of Queen of Puddings for dessert.
He has never heard of it. I am amazed. I grew up with it. I grew up with the smell of old breadcrumbs soaking in hot milk, freshly grated lemon rind, a dash of sugar, a little melted butter until the breadcrumbs swelled and were placed in a buttered dish into the oven. Shortly after that the set crumbs were ready to be spread with Raspberry jam and whipped egg whites and placed back into the oven until golden swirls of snow capped the base. This is my legacy. A simple Queen of Puddings. Fit for a King this dessert is bound to throw all worries and discord out the window. My table is richer for the bounty of stale breadcrumbs, a couple of eggs, a dash of sugar. My mother had it all figured out. When I came in from school from a damp February day it was there already in the throes of the making and it seemed all so effortless. We never had chocolate or store bought goods and yet what she made for us lingers on, I bring it to the table with pride. I bow down to the past and make it for all to relish on this cold night that falls on this small house and we are thankful for that and I say may you always have stale bread and never throw it out and always be grateful for the lessons learned and never forget where you came from and tell the son who talks about injustice to do something about it because if he doesn't well, who will. I won't. I have gone beyond it now but he hasn't and someday he might make Queen of Puddings too and be proud of his table and the environs of his four walls and I hate to say this and he would hate me for saying it but in the end what the four walls hold is really the root of all that is good within this world. And that is sad but horribly, inevitably true.