Opening lines

11826046_10207674386965729_956015648624826932_n

On Thursdays I pick up my farm share. It’s a box of locally grown organic produce sown, grown, harvested and delivered to a nearby locale for pick up by moi. I’ve chosen the  farmer from his seasonal crop planning and self-marketing session held each year at my favorite coffee shop.

Community Supported Agriculture (a CSA) connects farmers with buyers and opens a connection between buyer and seller that lends itself well to learning about everything from where food comes from, to identifying 7 kinds of lettuce, to cooking fresh with seasonal ingredients. For about $25 dollars a week, paid in advance, my farmer gets to do his thing and in the spring, I get to eat the fruits of his labor.

I used to pick up my CSA share from a garage. The door was opened to the public at about 2pm. The owner wasn’t home. CSA purchasers show up, unload the crate into environmentally friendly canvas bags,  or plastic, I have to admit when I’m just not on top of my schedule and forget entirely and have to show up before that garage door closes and use whatever I can find in my car to carry my vegetables home.

This year I live in a new neighborhood. I chose a new CSA that delivers to the local speakeasy a few doors down. To save a few bucks I split my CSA with a good friend and that means on delivery day I need to go into the establishment with two canvas (not plastic) bags and divvy up the goods. I’ve become something of a spectacle. I hope an anticipated and engaging spectacle, but I don’t get to determine what others think of me. I just have to be me. And hope they are laughing with me (not at me) (as the saying goes).

I arrive at the beginning of happy hour. Good timing, right? I know.  By now the bartender knows my name which is kind of ironic given it is a speakeasy so true anonymity would probably be best but this isn’t the 1920’s (as much as I’d like it to be.) And what does it matter that I’m unknown. I’m certainly not unnoticed. And neither are the Thursday happy -hour regulars who are at the rail every. single. week.  Jeff arrives on the dot of Four. He sits down. Orders a rum and coke. Peruses the menu, waits for his wife to show up at about 4:30 after she gets home from her job. When I come in, Jeff is sitting there, sipping, and serves as the buffer between paying patrons and the people who come in for vegetables but not corn based beverages.

Jeff makes small talk until the bartender is free. Last week that bartender was Kevin, he shared hints about the upcoming fall menu and a quest to brand the speakeasy as a spot for a variety of classic Old-Fashioneds. And he’s serious- he intends to serve the classic midwest Old Fashioned involving real cherries and pickled mushrooms. I’m liking this guy.  I’m not sure a speakeasy is known for brandy old-fashioners…I envision Gin Rickey’s  but I’m open to ideas. Kevin has them. He’s done this before. He knows what he’s doing. I think. He thinks. Does it matter? Kevin is telling me why he wants me to keep stopping in, why he wants me to bring my friends, why he wants me to talk about what they have going on there OUTSIDE of the bag of veggies sitting on his bar.

Holly is the waitress who has the gift of gab and can upsell a plate of steamed garlic infused kale as easily as a free refill on one of those Old Fashioned Kevin is pushing. Holly takes a peek into the canvas bag of veggies and admires the size of my zucchini. I smile and bob my head, no innuendo is lost on her. We grin together and stop ourselves from stroking the firm, dark, round eggplants.  She chides me for not stopping in for dinner and I promise to make the trek with my family if I can talk them out of being digital screen time addicts. I have teenagers. That’s another story.

Behind the bar is Devan. She’s new to this spot but cut her bartending teeth on a spot up the road at a cajun flavored NOLA themed restaurant and bar run by the same chef as here.  She knows the menu, likes good crab cake, is sad that the perch has been traded out for (sigh) cod and admires the bacon mac and cheese. Down the rail, the rest of the happy people spending an hour at the veggie pick up spot slash bar, all start nodding and spouting accolades related to crisp bacon and Wisconsin cheese. Devan and I get into a bit of a shared kumbaya moment recalling the power of last week’s viewing of the eclipse and she wants to show me her pics which she captured with the help of an infrared lens app that she used with her iPhone. I’m not sure if the latter actually exists but there’s no way to prove it as her phone is dead and is sitting behind the bar holding the proof of her conquest.

Paul wanders in and I politely move one of the divvied up bags of veggies so he can sit down to my right. He has his Packer jersey on and is staying for the game.  He asks why I’m sitting there having a drink with a bag of gorgeous red onions, leeks and some sort of jalapeño pepper medley? I’m hot, I say, and they get along with me.

I take another sip of my chocolate lab porter, brewed by Wisconsin Brewing Company, just a few miles to the west and settle in for a little back and forth with whomever might take the seat to my left.

.

I’m not looking for anything. I do, however, love to connect up. It’s not the same as a hook up. It’s actually, totally different. And I’m okay with that. 

 

#for Reticent Mental Property. Images courtesy of the web.

 

 

 

 

Do not

RMPprovo

one more try

i seek your forgiveness, your graces, your respect.

yet

when I sit at your feet, i feel nothing.

I desire to desire you.

Is that asking too much?

I desire to fix all mistakes, bring back innocence and youth and to repair your shattered heart.

It is not enough. These are not reasons to return.

Return only- i have learned- for that crazy dancing lust enveloping the practical side, that primal urge creating attachments caused by a brain hard wired for carnal pleasures and a need to feel alive.

“Do not return for guilt. Do.not,” lectures the therapist. After 30 years the stories from those lounging in the chaise she recognizes when the truth is heard, when someone listens, when someone, finally, forgives herself and moves forward toward trusting her own head.

.

for Reticent Mental Property. Images courtesy of the web.

Rock Me Mama

20s19

Out late in the night she sees only neon, the ice in the tumbler, the glisten of olive in gin.

Discussions around her cover all of the flavors of the human condition.

The man in the wife-beater tee salivates at young flesh on the dance floor.

Mundane observations from the bartender about Kapernaek, the weather, the price of milk in July, keeps heads nodding for another, agreement never required,  equal whining for all, defenses fall down to the bottom of the glass.

To the left sits the troupe of bachelorettes, too much skin, too much makeup, sloppy grins. Yet exhuberant dancing,  mischievous antics, ribald jokes about cucumbers and pickles and wood keep all entertained.

Across the room sits the young man with his date. They are new to the night, to each other, small sips from tumblers of sugar-ice liqueurs flit between witty comments, innuendo and the audacity to look into each other’s eyes, deeply, with blatant longing. Someone buys them a shot. Then to cope, a double for himself.

She pulls her focus to the table before her. Across the high top are women from her coming of age. Small town women yes, but the ones who had her back when she didn’t know she needed that. These women kept the best of the rules and made new ones to get them through career launches, predicted setbacks, the raising children on farms or in cities, fun times when some were without any partner at all.  Yesterday’s road parties rise up to the meet them, memories burning, tinged with regret, but burning wild in the part of the head that stores the most bravado of whatever has passed. Bonfires, beer and big hair. Poison, Bon Jovi and REO. The rhythms and beliefs and the words of the past, slip them into easy conversation, women dabbling in tales, forgotten stories, old town lore.

Who’s sleeping with whom? Who left his wife? When did Charlie start drinking at Double D’s? Get the dirt out of the way and get down to the grit. It isn’t about the consumption of fire, it’s all about the slow death of ignorance, innocence, and what we thought we could be.

How’s Macy with chemo? How’s your husband’s farm? Are you still working at Mulligan’s to keep the coverage you need? There are few answers, a hundred simple confessions, the sips in between the happy white lies. Another beer for the rest, a dirty gin gimlet for one, laughter and photos and hugs. Married happily, not married, never marry warnings, too long married; why is the length of time the gold band covers the naked left finger still the equalizer in 2017?

Shots of Fireball make their way from the men sitting at the rail in the front. Damn bartender makes great tips because he knows all the gal’s names and will share. In a circle they loft the amber liquid, stare into each other’s eyes for few, then raise them up with a clink – not even a nod of thanks to the gentlemen – then a tap on the table top for the ones who aren’t there.  The throwback, the set down, the exhale of the heat of the burn and they settle in for another hour of whatever comes out of the mouth. No need for poker faces or tears. The honesty sets in to balance the fears.

She’s the baby in the rock of the cradle, they are the sisters she let set the pace. The steady has fallen this time-  it’s her turn, only fair.

.

#for Reticent Mental Property. Images courtesy of the web.

Peace, please.

caelsandalfeetamericangirlbike

Your children sleep

your parents are safe

your dog lies at the foot of your bed, softly snoring.

There’s a sound in the night

it’s your voice crying out in protest

but you go back to sleep thinking it was just the rain.

You give what you have,

take nothing more, well, nothing that can be measured by bank accounts

and you flee the life you lived, the life you liked, the life you lied.

You wake up in the daylight,

sun streams on your cheeks, dries tears you have cried,

there is no escape from a prison you create

in

your

mind and heart.

Breathe, loved child of the past.

.

Breathe. And weep. And Breathe.

#for Reticent Mental Property. Images courtesy of the web.