Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Trip Back

The medium strip down the highway was scorched black, the land beside the highway had trees that lay smoldering and emitting spirals of blue smoke. The air hung heavy with the smell of a wood fire. Signs along the highway warned the motorists "Do Not Drive Through Smoke".

We were traveling though Texas and viewing what had been broadcast on the major news networks. The evidence of the fires were sporadic. Miles would pass before another patch of scorched ground was noted.

We have been in Oklahoma for the past week. The drought was noticeable; dust was everywhere. Most of the vehicles in town were smothered beneath a brown veil. Lawns were crisp and green was a scarce color. The trees have started to change from the green leaf of summer to the golds and oranges of fall  from the temperatures that have started to dip down in the evenings. 

Back in Lafayette, the husband spent the entire day cleaning the dust off his truck and getting it ready for his next trip. Most of my afternoon was spent preparing dinner. I had white gravy to make, potatoes to peel and whip and carrots to be candied. Fried chicken for an entree while macaroni and cheese was added to appease Carrie's appetite.

At 5 yrs of age..soon to be six, Carrie abhors vegetables. Late in the game of culinary training, the daughter has institued a new rule. Carrie must taste the vegetable being served. On this note, she placed one slice of a carrot on Carrie's plate and one slice on Ted's plate. Ted is 18 and he still sidesteps most vegetables but since Carrie has to have a taste, so must Ted.

We speared a carrot, all four of us. April sat with her carrot hovering on her fork close to her mouth while she did the count. A  one and a two and on three, the tears poured down Carrie's face. I had already swallowed my carrot and Ted quickly popped his onto his tongue. I didn't notice a chewing motion and I suspect he swallowed it whole. Meanwhile Carrie gazes at her mother, hiccouphs from the sobbing and begs to be excused. "I'm not hungry." she sobs. I bow my head and try to stay out of this skirmish.

"It's one slice Carrie! Now put it in your mouth and taste it." encourages April.

The tears continue to flow. She places a small piece of the carrot on her tongue and gags. It might be too late to start vegetable training on Carrie.

The daughter backs off and Carrie calms down a bit. A few minutes pass and she softly asks for more macaroni and cheese. Brave little girl?

"No, you can't have any, now finish your chicken." the daughter remains adamant on not offering more of her favorite food. While she talks to Carrie, I spear a piece of pasta from the daughter's plate and transfer it to Carrie's plate. She quickly pops it in her mouth and says "Nana, can I live with you?"

April lets this slide. I know when I've pushed to my limit. We change the subject from food tasting to Carrie's day at school. Carrie's eye lids are drooping. I can see the fatigue creeping in. It's time for her to go home for her bath and the bedtime that is getting close. 0600 comes early and the little girl will need her 9 hours of rest. I'll clear the table take care of the dishes. A kiss from Carrie and she follows her mother to the Jeep. A last wave and she is gone.

Tomorrow will be another day and another vegetable, and more tears. I'll take a rain check on watching. Maybe veggies aren't all THAT  important in the grand scheme of things. I know watching her pain at the thought of having to eat them is something I don't want to do again.

I'm settled into bed for some TV. That's my day. No complaints and  I'm done!


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