Last night while digging through my parents’ liquor cabinet for sweet vermouth, I found a bottle of Hendrik’s gin with a piece of masking tape stretched across the label. In permanent marker it read: “White Peony Liqueur.” It was my handwriting.
I had to concentrate to recall when I made it. I think I was with a friend. I thought I made it here at the lakehouse until my mother said she remembered me bringing it from somewhere else. I must have the worst memory of any writer ever. I swear my friends often make up events and fully fleshed out stories about me that never happened. They are preying on me because they know I won’t remember those things even if they were true. Really, they aren’t true… are they?
My childhood is a blur. I remember a few faces from High School. My ex-husband is… was I married? But there are moments from my days on the boat that are as vivid as if I dreamt them last night. Like the evening we wandered into Greenport, to the bar where the mayor was playing the accordion. I remember the way the lights struck down on us as if we were on stage; the way the band treated us like royalty; the way most of our crew squirmed when asked to sing sea shanties but then belted them out: “Heave ho and up she rises, heave ho and up she rises, heave ho and up she rises early in the morning.”
My time on the boat was the greatest adventure of my life. But what is an adventure, really? When does it start and where does it end? Is it possible to live life that way, the way the poets suggest, like each day is an adventure just waiting to unfold?
Adventures big and small
Last night my sister Rebecca texted us just before dinner: “ETA 7:15 PM.” We were not expecting her. She lives several hours away in Grand Rapids and usually my mom has such visits planned out far in advance. My mother and father and I looked at each other: did you know she was coming? None of us did. If you know my sister, you know that such spontaneity is not in her usual bag of tricks.
We were just about to make dinner, so we upped the amount of veggies we were going to grill. I rescued a head of cauliflower that was on its way to the compost and dredged it in curry spices. Rebecca arrived at 7:15 as projected and we sat down together on the deck watching the sunset. It was a light and summery meal – nothing special, but good and super easy.
I have had so many days like this, perfectly lovely days, that I know I will not remember in years to come. But perhaps if I practice putting them to memory as part of the process of valuing each day like as an adventure, no matter how small, maybe, just maybe, I will remember this one.
Last year sometime my mom and I started adding mint to the salad. The majority of the family thought that was a giant leap forward in salad making. Now we add basil, chives, sage, oregano – whatever’s in the herb garden.
Eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash appear courtesy of the Adrian Farmer’s Market.