A quick update– in the wee hours I forgot to mention that this post is a response to a SW– She Writes challenge by Gina Barraca– to turn the season on its head, let your hair down and stop being “nicey nice” for awhile– don’t take offense– none intended! xxj
Tonight I turned into the Walmart parking lot again and there was Monty, the gimpy and not quite right grey-haired smiling widower who works graveyard; he unplugged the new scooter and trundled it over to me, taking my walker, cold from sitting in the pick-up for hours, from me and stashing it away.
I rolled in , squinting from the fluorescent lighting, thinking about Christmas– finally. Suddenly at the late hour I felt the small stirring of the desire to cook although it hurts like hell and I’m under-appreciated when I make fancy things– by my wasband– he who was to have been my husband– and our animals, so very like but not our children.
I thought, as I looked at the baked goods, the lemon cake at 5 bucks a pop and the cookies that are probably stale already, “Get with it, woman! Let’s make cheesecake.”
The last time I made cheesecake from scratch was twenty years ago on the Joder Ranch when we were the caretakers and I was in the throes of my sleep disorder, teaching four sections of writing at the University of Colorado and co-caring for a herd of thirty Arabian horses. I was up all night, making cheesecake while the foothills wind tried to pry the roof off the trailer.
Those were the years. We were still lovers. I could still count on some pitch and woo a few times a week, on dusty, salty kisses and sweat, and whispered “Love you, hon” after no holds barred sex– and in gratitude the next day, I roasted a duck with raspberry glaze and produced a cheesecake.
The first time I had that cheesecake was in the seventies at Pat Baker’s wondrous table in her cabin in Rist Canyon. It was her recipe– soften two bricks of cream cheese and 1/4 lb of butter; work in a cup of sugar, the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, whisk in three eggs, pour it all into a graham cracker crust, bake it for 1/2 hour or so at 350, take it out, make a topping of sour cream ands sugar and let it cool a bit and spread a layer on the top and bake for another ten minutes… yes. Rich. Satisfying. Bite after bite down the gullet while we listened to Crosby Stills & Nash and talked politics and art.
Those were the days, those were the years. Telling this story of love on the run and making/being cheesecake I see that it’s three a.m. And this is my idea of a not-nice nativity story– that I resent Christmas and all the lovey dovey bullshit– I can’t wait until it’s over and I am tired of being so damn forbearing about the things I find intolerable.
Dust. So much dust. Chaff. Cat-boxes. …myself, my problems my tears and fears. Let them eat cake– my cake, my cheesecake and you’ll only get some if you’ll give me some…of you, a piece of your heart, an hour or two tucked away together body to body in the rising wind. That’s what I want for Christmas– a turning back of the clock, a little just dessert in the deeps of the night..