Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Joys of a Purple Legal Pad and a Well-Stocked Pantry

There's a tent set up in my living room.  My laundry basket is full of Bey blades, instead of clean clothes.  A fleet of paper airplanes made from the pages of a purple legal pad waits for a mission; in the meantime, they're on a cutting board runway. 

Usually I write poems on the pages of a purple legal pad, so I have a supply.  My 6 year old nephew asked if he could have a sheet from one of the pads I have going, and I quickly decided the best idea was to give him a whole legal pad of his own.

Oh, the variety of things one can do with a purple legal pad!

There are the afore-mentioned paper airplanes.  My spouse did an elementary lesson in division to show the 6 year old how much allowance he'd lose if he had to replace the blow up mattress because he'd been jumping on it.  The 6 year old wrote a story about a guy who loses his jacket. 

Yes, he's been in first grade for a whole month, and he has amazing language skills.  I remember being in the first grade and feeling frustrated because I wanted to use a word with a silent e at the end (my terminology might be off here), but I knew we hadn't learned that yet, and I didn't want to get in trouble.  First grade has clearly changed.

And what's interesting, my nephew is at the middle of his class in terms of his language skills, but near the top in terms of math skills.  I've always seen the language skills in action, but less so the math.

We've also gone to the beach and had water hose fights in the backyard.  These activities left us both ravenous and tired.

I did a bit of planning and shopping, but yesterday, when we were planning to have hot dogs, I realized that I had no side dishes, not even any chips.  What to do?

I had a few apples, so I thought about an apple salad of some sort.  I decided on what we called a Waldorf Salad back in the 1970's.  I changed it a bit by adding some chopped carrots.  I had no raisins.  But I do have a stash of pecans.

So, pecans and chopped apples and chopped carrots held together by Miracle Whip--yum!  And not for the first time was I thankful for my well-stocked pantry.

And I'm also grateful for my wide variety of culinary experiences, so that I could make changes to the recipe, so that I could be inspired to have the idea in the first place.

Since there's a child in my house, I'm inspired to wonder how much of our creativity is rooted in childhood.  I've noticed that my nephew is capable of endless improvisation.  Grown ups see a box of dental floss, but my nephew sees the most fabulous potential:  a tool, an enormous amount of string, a box with magical powers, all sorts of marvelous stuff.

Where and why do so many of us lose our ability to improvise?  Where and why do we lose our childlike wonder, where a simple legal pad of purple paper only has one purpose?

No comments: