Gather

There’s nothing I look forward to more.

Tuesday nights.

I think its hilarious and remarkable that we picked Tuesday, as it’s certainly the next to least remarkable day of the week. It’s incredibly ironic, then, that Tuesday is one of my more treasured and anticipated evenings, something I cherish more than words are equipped to describe.

I don’t have much to say in the way of admonishment or advice, sometimes I think writings (my own particularly) have a way of spoiling a description by trying too desperately to make a point. I once attended a Chinese rehearsal dinner and the groom’s father stood up, told some random tale about a businessman and then sat down. He didn’t have any cultural need to explain his point of the story, he just laid it out there and let you extrapolate at will, or eat chow mein. I chose the latter. I appreciated that he gave me the choice to engage or not.

This observation will follow in that tradition.

On the most unremarkable day of the week, every week, we arrive home from work with a twinkle in our eyes. An unexpected energy always accompanies our conclusion of the day’s business. We rush around the house, apply deodorant as needed, and immediately jump back into the car. For the next 20 minutes we drive among one of the prettiest little parts of Texas, through rolling hills and truly ambrosial waves of grain. The sun is on its “setting” course and we are able to catch up, and just drive away from it all. We arrive at my Grandmother’s front gate, always a bit sooner or later than we expect. For a weekly routine, we are never really on time.

Every single Tuesday, when we twist up the tiny road towards the house, I grow nostalgic as I remember new, forgotten stories from my childhood. We observe the shift and change in the blooms, or grass, or pond level and compare it to our observations from the week before. Nature is always changing, and the routine of all this makes for an excellent method for observation and commentary.

We pull up. The scene is always idyllic. A simple but well equipped bar platter and a couple of already-begun conversations approach with each step, and the jovial greetings begin.

 

G&T

 

Tim’s Smile.

We just fall into one another. Asking questions about the week’s goings on. laughing, connecting, apologizing if there has been a wrong, sharing our hearts, listening. It’s a buffet of fine people, and the opportunities for discussion are nearly infinite. Sometimes we stand off in separated groups to have a side conversation. Other evenings we all sit around a well-adorned plate of something yummy, priming our appetites for the feast to come.

Time stops.

Or it speeds up, I never can tell. Before we know it, when the last dregs of a workday have been washed away with several applications of cocktail lubricant, and the final joke has been told, we are invited into the family table.

 

Be filled

It’s never an “average” meal. Maybe that’s the gin perception. It can’t be, because every time my Grandmother makes something, it’s just remarkable. It’s like she has some powder of “love” that she braises, roasts, boils, grills or poaches into every single dish. She has mastered the combinations of mains and sides, as well as the power of a one-dish meal. Wine jumps into the party, and the conversations, now remixed, are rekindled.

Sometimes we talk as a table, other times we discourse in small groups. On rare occasions, my grandmother will call everyone to attention to ask a question or impart some rare advice. She is not one to take pride in her own wisdom, and the sharing of it. These moments are rare and always memorable.

Guests are welcome.

 

Jesse, South African, but lives in Austin

We have shared the table with innumerable people. They all love it as much as we do. It’s a small incubator away from everything “normal” in a city-business life and so they grasp it readily. Human needs are simple: food, drink, relationship, shelter. We do well when those are all in perfect harmony.

We have exasperated our serious words, and we are full to the brim. Mama (grandmother) clears the table, unless we can get to it first, and brings out steaming pitchers of coffee. Somehow, after all the imbibing of food, there is still room for a treat. A plate of cookies, a small bowl of vanilla, the occasional rum cake. Birthday celebrations are dealer’s choice, and we all choose something Mama makes very well.

We sit back, usually turning to silence or laughter. We drink our coffee with our lips and drink the moment in with everything else. Desperately sad that the evening is over, we migrate towards the door. Goodbyes are long and tender for people who see each other often. We are brimming, but like any greedy child, we long for the night to last longer. We drive home, we sleep.

Gather.