This meal is a myth of partial perspectives. In one, my head peaks over the table and tries to pull the dough of the apple strudel to make sure some of it stretches over the edge proving that the dough was perfectly kneaded. In another I am taller placing apple slices carefully side by side. In a later one I help my mother knead the dough and my father peel and slice the apples while my siblings sprinkle on raisins.
In all of these there is the common perspective of the fork cutting a warm slice of apple strudel on a plate with ice cream. After having children of my own I understand how they must have enjoyed watching us help make and then eat this dessert which, as far as I can remember, was the meal.
After many years my sisters and I tried to make that meal for them one holiday afternoon when we were all together again since it was not something they did anymore, while there was still time. We read our mother’s handwritten recipe card and she explained what parts we could ignore and what we needed to add that she did not clearly write down. We could not get the dough as large as any of us remembered it being. We realized that none of us were as picky as we used to be with how apple slices should be placed. In the end, it tasted OK without reaching the level of mythic perfection we expected, but we think they enjoyed watching us try.
CHILDREN’S TINY HANDS
SPRING WARMS MEMORIES AGAIN
PARENTS WATCHING ON
Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Toni Spencer.
The farmhouse rests on a flat, grain-growing, dusty, wonderful world. I am three. Outside I want to meet the dog who guards the farm.
Then I am on the ground. Someone says they will shoot that dog. Another stitches my eyebrow and cheek. I did not mean to frighten him.
LAZY BRUSH AND QUIET AIR
LIZARD RUNS AWAY
Written for dVerse Haibun Monday 28.
I am only inclined to tell this story, before I can no longer speak, because no one I have been rash enough to tell it to so far believes it. Right now, I’ll restrict myself to what is believable and that is simply that a puppy followed my neighbor pushing his way up the long path through the wild grass and tall red osiers that were not beaten down by my narrow, daily footsteps. He looked like a friendly dog although I cannot remember why I agreed to take him in.
His name was Fred. I let him sleep inside my cabin containing a hand pump for water, kerosene lamps for light and a wood stove on the edge of central Maine’s vast forest lands. On his first day Fred tore open the sealed food bag and stuffed himself with dog food until his stomach bloated. When he saw me refill his bowl he knew this was home. Eventually, Fred would earn the title of “bad dog”. I forgave him. I hope he forgave me. However, that gets into the unbelievable part that I’ve promised myself I must tell, but which I cannot tell, just yet, because I am trying to make it clear how cute he looked walking innocently through that tall grass.
WATER FLOWS DOWNHILL
FILLING STREAMS FROM MAPLE GROVES
AUTUMN LOSES WARMTH
Written for dVerse Haibun Monday.
Photo: "Orderly Entanglement" by the author.
Hear the author read this haibun on SoundCloud.