The other day while driving on a back highway, Thomas and I passed a turn-off to what I suppose was a farm, marked at the bottom of the gravel lane with a white homemade sign listing what they had for sale. And that was Pies, Peas, Lettuce and Tarts, and in that order.
I recited the list out loud, and over and over again, because I wanted to remember them and the list seemed so odd to me, and maybe fanciful. It felt like a quirky collection of words and foods and things that were for sale. It occurs to me now that maybe pies, peas, lettuce and tarts are just the crowd pleasers that draw travellers off the road and down the lane to a table that might groan also with soup, squash, cakes and carrots. Or any number of other things. But those four were what were on the sign, on that day at least.
Strangely, this leads to my bellyaching. I have my own list to share and it is of things I miss right now, a collection of things that probably stand in for a whole bunch of other things on my table, which today is groaning.
I miss grocery shopping slowly, in a wandering, circular kind of way and I miss grocery shopping quickly, in a dashing in and out for just a few things kind of way too.
I miss our dining room table full and I miss our dining room table empty. I’d like to fill every chair with a person who has a good story to tell. And I’d like to sit there all alone and not feed anyone but myself, with just toast that night and maybe a poached egg.
I miss so much talking happening in one room that you can barely hear each other speak. I miss din and parties of all kinds. I miss staying late. I miss leaving early.
I miss sitting on the dock of our cottage with my mother-in-law and my father-in-law. I miss being amazed at just how much Brent and his mom and dad can talk about on a sunny afternoon, and how deeply they can go, and then how they can laugh about something silly. I miss how I can dip in and out of their conversation like it is the lake, and how we all just read until it’s time to go for a boat ride. I miss the ice-cream. I miss how they like my cooking and say things like, “Well, would you just look at this.”
I miss my mom and my dad and how they laugh and play and live with us like it’s all hands on deck and how they will do just about anything. Hey let’s climb a tree? Okay! Let’s get up at dawn and jump in the water and play games all day and go somewhere new that someone told us about that we know nothing about, and then try something else new before the day ends? Okay! Yes! We do not need a nap. I miss being with them when they call me Honey.
I miss Erik and Nicoli and now Holly and soon Thomas.
I miss slipping into church just as it’s starting and giving the sleeve of Brent’s surplice a little tug as I pass behind him standing at the back of the church, just about to walk down the aisle. That’s so he knows I am there and we can do googley, loving eyes at each other just for a second. I miss my Sunday mornings, like they used to be.
“Quit your bellyaching!” my parents would say, when we were younger and grumbled for too long. So, I will quit now. And move along and keep digging deep, like we are supposed to.