Svet, Helen, and I and our zillion children got together at Helen and Clay's Crab Fest 2005. One of the many things I like best about our get togethers are late night talks over a little too much wine and chocolate chip cookies. I am not a big drinker, so when Buck talked to Clay, Clay said he had my half a glass of wine all ready. Isn't that sad? Clay has quite the growing wine collection, and the most I could consume without falling into a coma is a measly half a glass. The last bottle of three bottles of wine I've bought in 2005 still sits unopened.
Anyway, Svet told two stories which I must blog.
The first is about Bary entering the women's rest room at a Barnes and Noble in NYC. Though utterly clueless, he was so convinced he had chosen the correct bathroom, he raised his voice to an unsuspecting woman who chanced meander in while he wisely inspected stalls for utmost cleanliness, "Get out of here. I WILL call security if you don't leave the men's room at once. Criminy!" She, fearing perhaps she'd met an angry postal worker or mentally unstable person off his meds, became visibly upset and rushed out. The flustered woman may have been heading to find security herself. While occupied inside his tidy stall, the clouds of his brain began to part as he heard other WOMEN'S voices just beyond his thin steel door. What on earth was he to do? In one second, entire tragic scenarios flashed like lightening through his mind. Bary had just applied for a new job, he was certain this incident would appear promptly on his police record. He envisioned the front page of the NY Times headlined with "Barnes and Noble Prosecutes Seemingly Mild Mannered Editor". He imagines interviews with his embarrassed mother on Dateline, "He's always been a GOOD boy. I just don't know what happened. We tried to raise him right." Bary stands, zips, and otherwise readies himself to quickly flee this horrid place which he had entered with such unswerving confidence. When the last female voice trails after a closing door, he bolts. In great haste, Bary grabs Svet's arm and drags her unwilling self to the door, "But Bary, I haven't made my purchases yet." She notices his severe red face, heaving breaths, the tightness of his death grip on her arm. She decides to buy her Russian Journals at another time.
The second story:
Svetlana's mother is one of a kind. I've never met a mother, Sonya, more vigilant (perhaps "hell bent" is a wee too strong of a description though I'm not certain) about proper nutrition for her daughters. Svet and her sister were, under no circumstances, permitted to ingest sugar. Perhaps this explains why Svet and I used all the grocery money my mother gave me on Cookies and Cream Icecream and Twinkies the week our senior year she stayed with me while my parents went on a vacation to Hawaii without me. I shared a little story I'd read with Svet and Helen about a child whose mother served bran muffins made with honey, no frosting of course, complete with a lit candle in stuck in the center at her school birthday party. In the snapshot of the blessed celebration, the child was crying.
Svet broke out into unbridled laughter at this little narrative. Once she recovered, she shared a story with Helen and I about her mother's (Sonya) visit with Svet in NYC. One morning of her mother's visit, Sonya desired nothing more than to come to Svet's university library and get to know each and every other librarian and clerk by name. Sonya is extremely gregarious, not to mention interested in the everyday details of Svetlana's ordinary life. Svet thought of a better of this and announced, "We can have lunch together outside in the fresh air instead." Sonya took the hint and thoughtfully replied, "Alright then. I'll bring you some lunch around noon." Svet hadn't had time for breakfast in her hurry to work that morning, and she was grateful for the kind offer. Sonya is an adventuresome type too, and Svet longingly thought of all the interesting shops from which her mother might select their cuisine. There are Indian places with curried chicken and veggies, authentic German bratwurst vendors, fine French delis with delicious cheese and meat sandwiches to choose from all along the streets of the Big Apple.
By noon, Svet felt famished, her mouth watering as she plunged down the library steps out the sliding glass doors, down the cement sidewalk to the stone tables under the trees. "I can't wait for you to taste this" her mother beams from a bench. Svet's face showed visible concern when her mother, otherwise empty handed, pushed a covered white Styrofoam cup with a straw standing like a soldier at attention on top toward Svet's hungry self. "Where's my lunch, Ma?"
"Why, this IS your lunch. It's a carrot smoothie! They've sweetened it with beet juice. Doesn't that sound simply MARVELOUS?"
Svet musters all the courage within her withered and sadly disappointed spirit to speak in a dead pan voice, "Great, Ma. Great." Svet is half sobbing and half knee-slappin' laughing telling the details of this moment. Suddenly, I feel secret unspoken gratitude for my own mother, who would rather die than drink carrots and beets.
Crab Fest 2005 ended with luscious Alaskan crab legs, Maryland Old Bay seasoned whole crabs,
corn on the cob, new potatoes, other homemade salads, and too many delectable desserts to mention. Thank you, Helen and Clay for setting the stage for such a grand weekend. That is, if you ever read my blog again.
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