This refrigerator contains leftovers.
It’s really too bad that ‘leftovers’ has such a dingy, pouty faced cloud doggedly following it around. It’s not always true that leftovers are bad; if a thief too hurriedly empties out a gold bouillon safe and there are leftovers, what is left over is gold, right?
On Mother’s Day, I was looking forward to some rather fabulous leftovers. I thought that I was coming home from church to leftover Terri Lynn’s famous in-house smoked deli turkey, which I would pile on caraway seeded rye bread spread with hummus and spicy guacamole, topped with aged swiss cheese and a leaf of crunchy iceberg lettuce.
Instead, I found an empty, crumpled white deli paper embossed with the Terri Lynn’s Fat Boy sticker. His bright yellow face looked up at me, giving me nothing now but a smile.
On other days though, leftovers are just leftovers. Yesterday, I opened the fridge at noonish and performed a meal called, “This Is Your Lunch.” This event consists of me setting out on the kitchen counter certain foods—particular leftover foods—and then having gathered my darling ravenous wolves, I give the following speech:
“Of these foods (pointing to the counter) you may eat. But of these foods (pointing to the refrigerator and pantry), you may not eat.”
Every time, every time, the young hungry wolf people look at me in a consternating kind of confusion.
Does this happen to real she-wolves, I wonder?
“Here pups—gnaw on this leftover llama.”
Inconveniently, just then, a herd of puffy white bleating lambs toddles by.
“But can’t we have those? Please?”
“No, eat the llama.”
The she-wolf holds her growl. She is wise. She knows they are just baiting her, hoping that their whimpers will change her mind or buy them enough time to come up with an actual argument in favor of lamb chops.
The lambs bleat louder. The puppy wolves whimper.
She holds up her paw so that she may count her claws for them. “You shall eat the leftover llama because 1) wasting food is wasteful 2) being greedy is greedy 3) I’m too tired to chase a herd of sheep for you because I’m tired and 4) I said so because I said so.”
Though not pertinent to the needs of the she-wolf, I say to everyone else, that if you ever pick up a classical homeschooling book on why should you spend precious time teaching your children about logical fallacies, such as circular reasoning, just put it down because you should put it down.
But if the she-wolf wants to move on from chasing her tail of an argument just because she’s chasing her tail, then I think she’ll give a reason for eating leftovers that goes something like this:
We’re having leftovers today, Wednesday, because I took you to the lake on Monday. While we were there, your brother, the hunter-biologist, caught a large quantity of minnows and tadpoles and also a newt that I didn’t know about, and asked to bring home the schloshing bucket full of them.
“I promise the bucket won’t tip over on the drive home,” he said.
I loaded all of you up, including the bucket of fun, and we gently schloshed our way down Highway 10, enjoying the sunset in the rear-view mirror. I, feeling weary, noticed the clock telling me that it was too early for your Father to be home, and I didn’t want to deal with you end-of-day-people at home by myself. But I didn’t say that. I merely decided to stall for time by suggesting we stop at the bridge “to watch the sun go down on the river.” It was a lovely sunset and it could have been even lovelier without me shrewishly nagging you all to quit walking back and forth past the infrared-people-counter so you could watch the number dial click up instead of enjoying the sunset. After 45 seconds of attempting a peaceful moment at vespers, back to the vehicle we trooped.
Successful entrance and egress from vehicles by large families should be a trophy sport. Alas, there will be no trophies for us because Rose kicked the bucket.
She is still alive, of course.
The minnows, however, started dying quicker than Rose and Quinn could scoop them up, so for the fish it was a very real kind of bucket-kicking experience.
I asked you all the right questions. Was the murky pond water contained to the rubber liners? Did you find all the fish? Did you get it cleaned up? Do you need any help? But like an overworked and underpaid case manager staring blankly out his gray and mauve tweed cubicle on a late TGIF afternoon, I didn’t follow through.
On the third day, after striding past a protesting Martha who cried that there would surely be a stench, I opened the door to my vehicle, my vehicle which had become a tomb, owing to the tragedy that some of the fish had been…..left over.
To your credit, dear children, you did bravely clean up when asked. I myself felt more like fleeing, but courageously you donned overly big blue latex gloves and plucked the carcasses of five moldering fish things from the auto carpet. You “wanted to retch,” you said. I was trying to feel your pain, but secretly I was proud over your excellent use of vocabulary. I gave you a box of baking soda to sprinkle, to thus soak up the spectacular smell. I turned to go water my flowers in the clean spring air and behind my back you decided that the thing that baking soda needs most in the world is not time to soak up offensive odors, but rather vinegar spray.
I love you all, my young wolves. We’re just going to have quick and easy leftovers today because we have an entire vehicle to clean. And that’s why we’re having leftovers.