Vol. I, No. 4 Conway, Arkansas, Oct. 23, 2005 Next Edition: December, hopefully
Riverside Tuna Salad
1 can tuna
I pack all the
ingredients in a Zip-loc™
bag. Then, when it's time to eat, I open the tuna, dump it in the
bag, squeeze in the onion and mayonnaise, and add the seasonings.
Once everything is added, zip the bag, and start kneading until everything
is mixed. You can serve this on crackers, but, if you're near Hwy 65
in Arkansas, I recommend spreading it on Serenity Farm's whole wheat
wood-fire baked sourdough bread, which won't get crushed in your pack.
Adventures in Fact: Are We
October 20, 2005
Bad faith. Now I get it. Now I understand this expression Sartre used to describe our self-deceit because I've finally caught myself subscribing to one of those beliefs. It goes like this: certain days on the calendar are marked "fall break," Thanksgiving break," "Christmas break," "spring break," etc. And for 37 years of my life, I have really truly believed I could "make a break for it" cleanly from my current existence to be suddenly someone else, somewhere else.
But it never happens that way. Instead, it occurs in stages; or should I say "on stages" because it certainly feels like we've acted through this script a thousand times before? First, is the planning stage where we try to negotiate where we will go and what we will do. One spouse wants a "city vacation"; the other wants a backpacking expedition. So we work at some sort of compromise for three weeks, until a deal is struck about three days before we should be leaving. In the meantime, I scramble around trying to keep everything ready to go, worrying over how I should pack when I don't know where I'm going and who will take care of the cats now that I've waited too late to schedule a pet sitter.
On the day that we should be leaving, we are just entering the packing stage, so we waste a whole day of vacation just getting ready to vacate: three loads of laundry must be done for the work week, along with a load of dishes, Bart has to be taken to the boarder, there's always the inevitable Wal-Mart trip, always, gas, oh, and I have to run to the post office. I've been waiting three weeks to mail that return but suddenly it becomes extremely urgent.
Then, there's the "God, please just get me out of town" stage, when every red light is a reminder that we should have been on the road hours ago. Once we're finally on the way, we enter the "What did we forget?" stage, where we enumerate the failings of our memories and the ways in which our lives are too complicated. By the time we do finally come to the place we were setting out for, it seems like it's already time to leave. In essence, we never really get there.
I suppose I should let go of my bad faith in clean breaks. But, to be honest, I'm not too square on the notion that half the fun is getting there, either. It seems kind of dishonest, what we tell kids to keep them quiet. Rather, the answer probably lies in just being wherever it is that I am: "Yes, we are there because we always are." That's probably the hardest thing I will ever have to learn.
Adventures in Fiction:
The Nietzsche Superhero Action Figure
Upon waking, I couldn't remember exactly where the dream started. So I'll start with what I do remember. I was in a house. It was not a remarkable house in any way. It was just a house. Until the earth began to tremble. I noticed a man about my age standing in a room. And then a sandstone statue forced its way through the floor, splintering the wood as it rose. It looked like an Easter Island figure but about the same height as I. The man said it was the Evil Nietzsche and that we must do something to stop him. So I placed something (coins?) on the little offering plate the figure held in his hand. Suddenly, a tiny little man about 8 inches tall with sparse red hair and wearing a green suit leapt out of the statue and about the room. The man I noticed earlier yelled, "It's the neutral Nietzsche, give him something to do until we figure out a way to turn him into the good Nietzsche." So I grabbed the tiny philologist and put him on a book shelf that held a toy piano. Seriously...he started playing...yes...Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. You know the one I'm talking about—Elmer Fudd as Siegfried, Bugs Bunny as Brünnhilde: dah, da da, da, dah, dah, da, da, da dah.... Ahem.
Anyhoo, it lost something in the translation to a tiny toy piano, if it hadn't lost something already in Saturday morning Merrie Melodies cartoons. Luckily, the phone rang. So, attempting to rub away an impending headache, I walked into the sitting room leaving the man and Nietzsche where they were. The black leather couch (somehow I have a feeling that was a famous Austrian adding his two cents worth) beckoned and I decided to lie down and let the phone ring away as I fell asleep. And that's where the dream ended.
Close Encounters, Close Calls
When I go into the woods, what I really go for is contact with some kind of animal life. I remember the time we were canoeing down the Buffalo below the Highway 14 bridge. We saw a funny kind of movement in the water near the bank, so we stopped paddling and waited while the river current took us closer. Within 30 feet, we realized three otters were frolicking in a sun-warmed pool. Within 20 feet, we could hear them snorting like pigs. And within 10 feet we could see that they were eating something very crunchy (crawdads?) with a relish not allowed for human beings. At just that time, a huge 10-point buck came splashing across. In a barely containable whisper, I said, "I don't know which way to look!"
Then, there was the time we saw two elk cross the Buffalo near Highway 65. I thought, perhaps, we would get a closer glimpse of the couple if we were really quiet. As we turned the bend, we were surprised to see, not just the two that had crossed, but at least 50 elk standing on the bank. They simply stared at us as if they'd never seen such a strange thing as two people floating down the river in some sort of contraption.
Of course, not all of my animalian experiences have been welcomed. Once, at the Rush campground, a skunk brushed right up against my pant leg, cat-like, as I sat next to the fire. Frozen, I thought, "What am I going to tell the department secretary Monday morning when I can't come to work?" Luckily, I didn't need an answer. My husband calmly told our visitor, "Now, you need to get out of here," and the skunk obeyed, although, to tell the truth, he looked a little sad that he was being asked to leave, and I swear he looked back at us longingly as he waddled off into the woods.
Not surprisingly, we got another visit from one of our white-streaked friends at Kyle's Landing over the fall break. Skunks are not shy, and they've apparently figured out that when they come into camp, people dump their food and run. Some backbone and a bit of lumber thrown his way seemed to convince this one otherwise. I don't think I'll ever be able to do the "sleep under the stars" thing because I'm convinced I'll wake up nose to nose (or worse, the other end) with ol' Smelly. Of course, that flimsy piece of tent material between me and him is a mere pretense, let's face it. But it's better than nothing!
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