sit, dark plaits close beside straight brown hair, both heads
bending attentively over an imaginary cauldron.
I, with the temerity of superior size and advanced age, trespass
into the kitchen and begin my interrogation.
What are you doing?
Plaits answers, turning glowing brown eyes up to mine. She is
polite, as her mother expects her to be. Cooking.
Oh. Silence. Plaits turns back to her work, adding
more green stalks, torn into uniform sizes, to the mix.
What are you cooking?
Brown hair answers this time, glancing up. Her quick assessment
lets me know what she thinks of those who invade a kitchen, disrupt
the chefs, and then askgood grief, actually ask!for
the recipe. Still, I tower over them as they kneel, intent on
their work. Grass Soup, she says gravely.
Small brown finger and small pink finger reach out gingerly to
stir the ingredients in their cauldron. They do not ignore me.
They forget I am here.
Small brown finger crooks her finger, dips it onto the boiling
cauldron, then moves it carefully into her mouth. Her face becomes
a study in concentration. I think
yes, I do believe,
she said slowly, that something is missing.
Small pink finger crooks, then raises to her mouth. She smacks
her lips softly, contemplating. Yes, she agrees. Perhaps
a little more of that grass? She points at a fresh green
clump with slightly broader leaves than the ones already mixed
in their pot. Then she flips onto her knees as only six-year-old
girls can, and crawls to the grass. Carefully she selects six
tender green shoots. As she crawls back, avoiding the pottage,
and resumes her seat on bent knees, and slowly, carefully, adds
the six green leaves, brown finger reaches out to turn the heat
under the cauldron down.
Once again brown finger and pink finger crook into the simmering
pot. Pink finger smacks her lips. Still something missing!
Yes, brown finger says, staring at the finger she
has just licked clean. Suddenly she leans forward, reaches out
and plucks a yellow dandelion from their store of ingredients
growing in the lawn.
Do you think
? pink finger asks.
I do, brown finger replies, inspecting the dandelion
to be sure it is unblemished. Then she shreds the flower into
individual petals and adds it to the green grass soup. She stirs
the mixture carefully with her finger. Both girls dip their fingers
into the cauldron and taste the result critically.
says pink finger judiciously, yes,
She leans slightly to her left, picks up a
leaf of dried yellow grass and holds it up for brown fingers
consideration. The girls nod their heads in unison, and carefully
drop the single yellow blade into the mix and stir carefully.
Once again brown finger and pink finger curl into the cauldron
and lift to rosebud lips. Once again pink tongues flick forward
to lick fingers clean. Both heads bob, and, in unison, both reach
behind their backs, untie imaginary aprons and retrieve imaginary
bowls in which to serve their imaginary meal.
And I retreat quietly rejoicing that I am less real, less relevant
to them than grass soup.
Anderson lives on 20 acres at the end of a dead end road in
St. Clair County. She recently obtained her first Confederate
Rose plant and points with pride when it blooms, but as much as
she loves flowers, she is more famous as a "seed undertaker"
than gardener. She is more successful as a grandmother and wife
and mother, and to fill out her life, she works with her husband
in a nonprofit organization.