Your best effort ever, according to my childhood, was the Cheese Zombie. My favorite childhood hot lunch was paired with a reconstituted, milky tomato soup. Thank you, Mom, for making sure that I had a hot lunch ticket on Cheese Zombie days.
Lunch lady. Ordinary. Plump. Hair net meticulously crowned. Drawn eyebrows. Large chest in a below-the-knee cafeteria dress. Varicose veins above sensible shoes. Apron. She is white, of course. 99.5% of the people at my elementary were white. I was barely aware that people came in an amazing array of flavors. White kids. White lunch ladies. White bread.
The Cheese Zombie was steeped in delicious carby, fatty mystery. That singular hybrid of easy starch and fat required less chewing than food ought. Dip that Zombie into sweet, hot tomato soup. For a few moments your childhood troubles melted away.
Worry over lessons. Worry over playground politics. Worry over what you might encounter on the walk home. Worry over what would be at home once you got there. All of it melted away in the gooey, warm, buttery sensation of a Cheese Zombie and tomato soup.
No wonder I have food issues and a love affair with Cheese Zombies. 🙂
Yakima, Washington sits just outside the Yakama (Native American) Reservation. I grew up in Yakima.
I began smoking cigarettes in Yakima. One of the great buys could be had just a couple of miles from my home on Ahtanum Road, conveniently on my way to work at Miner’s Drive In.
The Smoke Shack was a little bigger than today’s coffee huts, and every bit as convenient. Drive up. Order your smokes. Pick up a lighter. Drive away.
The price? Well, back then I think I paid about 35¢ to 50¢ a pack. A $5.00 carton. Eeegads! Can you imagine???
As a child I marveled on day excursions to the Yakima Valley. Wapato. Toppenish. Sunnyside. There were Pow-Wows where the tribe would dress, sing, share. Jewelry and beadwork drew my eye, but the presence of soft leather and woven baskets were my favorite. Conjuring the drums, soft dance, beautiful skin and facial features so different from my own brings me to childhood. I can still taste the fried bread slathered with butter and fruit jam.
I no longer buy cigarettes or eat fried bread slathered with butter and jam. The Yakamas? Well, they are firmly rooted in my heart.
When was it, exactly, that my hubs became enamored with retirement? It’s been at least a couple years, I’d say. His passionate dream of not clocking in has paralleled my journey of inability to work. Me, at home, with assorted physical limitations. Him, at work, with a longing not to be there.
On Thurs., 8/24/2017, our two worlds converged. He is retired.
Never, in all our married life of 35 years, have we lived a ‘typical’ work schedule. I have worked mostly a 9 to 5 -type work week, M-F. He has worked various shifts, the odd days off, holidays, etc. It meant he missed a lot of events over the years. It meant I was a quasi-single mom. It kept us fed, housed, clothed. He and I did the best we could with what we had.
You know, like most of us!
And now what lies ahead? Grand schemes for travel? Great building projects? Second careers?
For now, we’re learning how to share space. He is trying on his freedom, finding small projects, rising and retiring at “normal” times. I am a fly on the wall — watching. My goal is not to interfere too much, allowing him to feel and experiment with this strange landscape. He has worked since he was a young teen. He is 64 now. He doesn’t know it yet, but he probably will struggle a bit with the sheer strangeness of it all.
The purpose of this is to expand transgender awareness, share information on health and fitness, and start discussions on societal ethics. It's also a way for my friends and family to stay updated on what's going on with me.