On Sunday I decided to make a pot of gumbo for dinner. Maybe it was due to the fact that it was a cool, wet, blustery day. Or that Mardi Gras is here. Either way, I wanted to get my Inner Louisianan on.
Which is weird, because I’ve never been south of Virginia.
But I do know that we picked up Louisiana for a song, thanks to history class. And that the cuisine from that region is delicious. Just a couple of weeks ago, I had crawfish etouffee from a restaurant in Portland and sucked the meat right out of their heads, as you are supposed to do. So I guess I’ve had Southern cookin’ on my mind.
I’ve made gumbo before, so this wasn’t exactly a first. The key to a good gumbo is the roux. This mixture (equal parts fat and flour) takes constant stirring and a lot of time. At least an hour. The goal is to have it turn the color of an old copper penny. So I diced all my vegetables, measured out my spices and seasonings, and stood over the stove, stirring with a whisk. Records were playing to keep me entertained, but with nothing else to do, my mind inevitably started wandering. As my flour and oil mixture slowly darkened, I begin ruminating on a hundred different topics.
I thought about how we’ll be moving next week. Saturday and Sunday were spent boxing things up and signing off on the lease, so it’s beginning to feel real now. And yet, oddly not. Even with all the framed pictures removed from the wall and decor packed up and a 6′ high stack of boxes in the entryway, the place still feels like home. Interestingly, when I moved out of my old house following the divorce eight years ago, there was nothing but relief. That place had stopped feeling like home months earlier. Clearly circumstances are far different this time around.
I thought about how we came this close to buying a new bed over the weekend that would have cost thousands and thousands of dollars, only to come to our senses when we read the online reviews and realized Sleep Number is not the 8th wonder of the world. Instead, it sags in the middle and the mechanical parts break down. We settled on a pillow top instead. It may still sag in the middle after awhile, but it won’t cost us the price of a used car.
I thought about what a great movie American Hustle, which we saw the night before, is. And how Christian Bale completely and convincingly lost himself in the role. And how badly comb-overs really work. And how the 1970s remain my favorite decade.
I thought about how many choices kids in school have these days. Audrey had a freshman orientation last week, and electives she can choose include digital photography, game design, 3-D animation, robotics, sports marketing, floral design, alternative energy, mythology, architecture, Shakespeare, astronomy, horticulture, film study, video production, advertising, criminal justice, and Chinese. When I was in high school, I could take typing, be an office aide, or help out on the school newspaper. And I had to walk uphill in knee-deep snow for 3.5 miles EACH WAY just for the privilege of doing so! Times have changed, no?
I thought about how The Walking Dead is a great show despite the fact that the seasons never change. It’s like perpetual summer there in Atlanta. And also, nobody ever gets a haircut, but if they did, wouldn’t everybody be walking around with really bad haircuts? Rick’s group doesn’t include any hairdressers that I’m aware of.
I thought about how I work for the greatest company in the world, because Tuesday is Employee Appreciation Day, and they are actually honoring us with an afternoon Mardi Gras-themed event at a taproom in downtown Camas. During work hours. With booze and food and beads. It’s seriously ridiculous how much they spoil us. And no, I’m not complaining a bit.
I thought about how it takes a big man to cry, but an even bigger man to laugh at that man.
And then all thinking ceased because 90 minutes had passed, my arm was about to fall off from all the stirring, and Side 2 of “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road” came to an end. So I added chicken broth and veggies, let the whole thing come to a boil, and poured myself a whiskey.