Notes from the Nest
The temperature of the lake was perfect as I gently bobbed up and down on the surface, rolling peacefully over the rippling swells created by the warm wind whispering across the top of the water. I was engaging in my signature move, “The Starfish,” floating on my back, arms and legs spread out wide, completely and passively opening myself up to the heavens above.
With the back half of my head submerged, my ears were under water, blocking out all outside noises. My eyes were focusing on unique, cloud formations, moving airily across the remarkable blue sky, as a reclusive of late, peacefulness sank in, anchoring me to the lake with feelings of serenity, ease and contentment.
As I whiled away a few blissful, late summer moments of aqua-tranquility on Sheldrake Lake late this afternoon, naturally my mind turned to … casseroles! What? Yes, casseroles, those marvelous one-pot wonders, which serve up hearty doses of comfort, pleasure and repose in a dish.
And not just casseroles themselves but the incredibly composed, multi-talented women, who can whip one up at a moment’s notice, to deliver to a sick friend, a new mother, just home with her newborn baby or to a grieving family after the loss of a loved one. They also regularly show up at church suppers, pot lucks and service club socials with the green bean casserole, that everyone is just dying to get the recipe for.
My sister Judy is one of my favourite people, in the entire world. When people meet us they usually say, “Oh my goodness, you two are exactly the same! You look the same, you talk the same and you act the same.” Personally, we’ve never thought we were that similar but apparently as we’ve aged, our lines have somewhat crossed.
One thing we do share though, is our sense of humour and our love of laughter. When we get together, usually a case of the sillies isn’t too far off and more than frequently, our conversations dissolve into fits of giggles. It was during one of these so-called fits, that we decided one of our greatest aspirations in life was, to become “casserole ladies.”
Initially, our conversation was about our present bouts of trials and tribulations, leading to a certain amount of gnashing of teeth, blowing off steam and a pinch or two of weeping and wailing, thrown in for good measure. There’s nothing like a vigorous venting session, with an understanding soul, to help one pull-focus and reset priorities. That’s when I said, “I’d like to be a casserole lady.” Curious about my declaration, she asked what I meant. I said, “A casserole lady, you know the kind that has a regular life.”
I spent the next few minutes explaining what I meant and before long, she eagerly joined in. First and foremost, they serve dinner promptly at 5 p.m. sharp, each evening, providing nutritious sustenance and covering all of the food groups,” I quipped. “Some fabulous concoction of meat, veggies and rice, potatoes or pasta all cohabitating in the same pot.” I continued. “And covered in something wonderful and crunchy, like crushed potato chips!” she added, getting into the spirit.
“These women are always warm, calm and smiling,” Judy noted. “They have an enviable poise and peacefulness. Nothing gets to them. And they have all the answers!” I imparted.
“Their marriages are near perfect. Their children too. A casserole woman’s husband always helps out around the house and compliments her regularly, their dogs don’t shed and their cats don’t barf up hairballs.” Judy snickered “I know!” I tittered. “Can you imagine!”
“They keep their homes impeccably clean and tidy, no bath tub rings, no writing your name in the dust on their furniture!” she chuckled. “And they always wear sensible shoes and slacks. They definitely don’t wear pants, they wear slacks.” I chortled. At that another round of uproarious laughter.
We spent the next 15 minutes, continuing to add to the list of desirable traits, our fantasy characters possessed, letting the medicinal properties of laughter filter through us, like a healing balm. As we lightened our loads, our cares vanished between cracks about crock-pots, clowning around about ceramics and continuing into tomfoolery, about what would freeze better turkey tetrazzini or tuna noodle casserole.
Now, when I begin to feel the inevitable stresses of life building, my emotions are feeling raw, or my nerves are starting to fray, I try to think of my sister Judy and our quest to become casserole ladies. A little harmless escapism, helping me to see the humorous side of life. Hmm! I think an enticing chicken and rice casserole, is on the menu tonight and perhaps I’ll wear my new slacks, when I serve it. Care to join me?