We were all standing in the kitchen, my mom, my dad, and I, on a beautiful spring day much like it was here today. It must have been a Saturday, because we’d just come home from the allergist (Saturday’s were my allergy shot day). My mother was bustling around in the cupboards, starting lunch-probably tuna fish sandwiches and tomato soup, which were my favorites. My dad was leaning in the doorway between the kitchen and living room, drinking a glass of milk.
“Why don’t we go on trip?” he asked. “We could pack up and head south right now, and be in Kentucky by dark.”
Excitement began rising up in me, like bubbles in a glass of soda, my mind already revving up with the idea of adventure, of hitting the open road, of seeing all my southern cousins and my aunts and uncles, of sitting on Aunt Emily’s front porch in the swing late at night, listening to the tree frogs singing, of walking up the big hill behind their farm to the little cemetery on the hill where my great-great grandparents were buried, of wandering around the one room schoolhouse and hearing my mother tell the tales of riding Billy, her little pony, to school, seeing the spot where she tied him up each day while she sat inside doing her lessons.
My mother froze for a moment, then banged the Farberware saucepan noisily down on the stove, flipping the knob underneath so the gas fired under it with an angry hiss. “What are you talking about?” she said. “Why, we can’t go on any trip now! How am I supposed to get everything ready to go on a trip in five minutes?”
I sat silently, hardly daring to move, knowing how much my mother disliked traveling, even to her old hometown. I could feel my father’s disappointment, as he gazed out the window at the blue sky and sunshine, his desire to break free and do something spontaneous a palpable presence in the room.
“Oh please, Mama!” I cried out, jumping up from my chair at the kitchen table. “PLEAAASE! It would be so much fun!”
My dad draped an arm across my mother’s shoulders and smiled, a warm and winning smile that, combined with my pleading, she was powerless to resist. “Pleaase, Mama,” he said gently into her ear.
“Oh, alright,” she agreed. “But nobody’s going anywhere until after lunch. Just sit down here and eat your soup and sandwich, and then we’ll see.”
I barely tasted my food, and then ran to my room and started tossing things into my powder blue cardboard suitcase~my transistor radio, all the books I was reading at the time, my drawing pad and pencils, and of course, Tedrick, the battered brown bear I’d been sleeping with every night since the age of three.
We did go on that trip, setting off within the hour in my dad’s dark red Coupe de Ville. It was the finest trip we ever took. Just the other day, my dad was talking about it- as a matter of fact, he brings it up nearly every time I see him.
“Remember that time we just decided to get in the car and drive south?” he’ll say, and even 40 years later I can sense the excitement building in both of us – the idea, the possibility, of doing something so different and daring, something unplanned, unprepared for. “Remember, we were just standing in the kitchen one day talking about it…”
“I sure do remember,” I answer, smiling.
“That was the best trip we ever took, wasn’t it?” he said wistfully.
“It sure was,” I agreed.
And it all started in the kitchen.
See what’s happening in other people’s kitchens right here.