Thursday, January 23, 2014

Everyday Perfection: Of Briskets and Other Joys

When I think of reasons to believe that I love my life, reasons to keep me rooted in the present tense, I will remember yesterday afternoon and evening, which was perfect in so many ways.

It began with a good session with my first grade reading pal.  You might think, as I did before I got involved with the program, that every day would be a good day.  How hard can it be to read with a child?

Well, it can be very difficult for a variety of reasons.  But yesterday was good:  the book was manageable, and my reading pal did a good job of reading it, although he wanted to color.  I came up with a plan.  We colored a bit, then we read a page.  It worked well.

I went back home to the grilling that was in progress.  My spouse was grilling a brisket that had been waiting in its spice rub for a day.

I never thought of brisket as an edible, attractive food.  I'd never had it before we moved down here, and then I got to taste brisket that had been prepared based on the recipes of Eastern European ancestors, tough and chewy disasters.

But yesterday was different.  We enjoyed a brisket that was both meltingly tender with crispy bits.  We also had grilled clams.  What fun to watch them pop open on the grill.  I half expected them to sing.

As we waited for the grilling to be done, we enjoyed a fire in the fireplace and hot, spiced cider, the cider that we didn't use to brush on the brisket.  It felt wintry and festive.  Periodically, we went outside to check on the grill and inhale the wondrous smells.

Our friend who lives in our cottage inspired the great brisket project, so we had invited her to dinner.  She's from Texas, so she's got a different experience of brisket than I've had.  We had a more barbecue brisket than a Jewish brisket.  Delicious.

We played cards after dinner.  My in-laws taught me to play Euchre, and my spouse loves to play it at any opportunity.  Since his brother is here, and our friend was interested, we taught her the game too.  It's a slightly more complicated game, but she picked it up easily.

We finished the night by eating a piece of cake, a sponge cake topped with broiled brown sugar, butter, and coconut.  The coconut came from our trees.  How perfect is that?  A cake that's moist and tasty and not terribly bad for us--even better!

Could I imagine a more perfect day?  Certainly.  I could be made Supreme Court Justice of the U.S.  I could win a major book prize.   I could be offered a job as poet-in-residence at a fabulous school with a salary that would make it possible to keep my Florida house while still being the poet-in-residence.

But those are once in a lifetime perfect days.  Yesterday was perfect because it can be replicated.  It takes a certain insistence on living in the moment, but the rewards are great.

No comments: