— From EF —
I have three vivid memories of raw red currants.
The first was at a sidewalk kaffe-konditorei in Austria, probably in 1969. We were feeling indulgent and ordered a “kännchen” of coffee, rather than two cups, then went to the pastry counter and looked at the goodies. There was something that clearly had a big layer of whipped cream on top. “Zwei Johannesbeer torten, bitte.” A thin crust, a layer of red currents trapped in gelatin, and a big slather of whipped cream. Wow.
The second was also in Europe, sometime when the kids were small. We were driving in Belgium and needed a bathroom, and there was a shopping center with an IKEA. Good. We went inside, found a bathroom pretty easily, and spent the next half hour trying to find our way out of the damn place: you weren’t allowed to exit the entrance. We did get out, found our car, and took advantage of the mini-park at the mall to have our lunch. That morning, shopping for the day’s food, I’d found raw red currants, four perfect peaches, and a little pot of crème fraiche. I’m sure there was something else for lunch, but the currants/peaches/cream is what I remember, after our remarkable introduction to the wonders of IKEA.
The third was today. I’ve been tending my red currant bushes for about five years now, and this is the year they started fruiting abundantly. I picked some last week, put them in the fridge, and gleaned the rest of the crop today. There are times when food is a perfect way to express love, and today was Father’s Day. We went to the ocean, ate sushi, drank sake and watched the colors shift in water and sky. That was Act One.
Act Two was a dinner of slow-roasted lamb shanks with our own home-grown garlic and a big green salad.
And Act Three was the whole bowl of currants mixed with perfect sliced white peaches, the first of the season, and a ridiculous pile of real whipped cream. (Not from a can, thank you.) Sweet, tart, crunchy, slithery, and sublimely good — good match for the man who gave me the gift of being able to wish him “Happy Father’s Day.”
— From the Fool —
My friend Joe gets lots of weird ideas, but I guess that’s only natural. Weird ideas group up in some heads the way you find car dealerships all in the same part of town, so if you want a car or a weird idea, that’s where you go.
His basketball team lost the championship game, so he was looking on the bright side: good excuse to get plastered. It might have just been the drink talking, except Coors Light doesn’t talk very loud, even after the fourth. But he was giving up basketball, he said.
“All these goofy seven-foot freaks trying to toss a ball through a hoop! What does that accomplish? It falls right through.”
“You always liked it, though,” I said, propping him on the stool.
“When I was a child I thought as a child,” he said. “That’s in the Bible. You find a lot of stuff in there. They had some good ideas, except for all the love-thy-neighbor crap.”
So I asked what he was going to devote his energies to. He didn’t have an answer right off, but he said, “What I’d like to see is a new sport.”
“Like where they just shoot each other.”
That was a little fuzzy to me, but then he revved up. “Like there’s two teams, and they got whatever kind of guns they got, and the team that kills the others, they win.”
I tried to come at that with an open mind, but he could see I had problems getting a grasp. I know he thought I was gonna ask, “You mean for real?” but I knew that’s what he meant. So I just asked, “Why would anybody want to see that?”
“For the satisfaction.”
I didn’t know quite what to ask, so I just wondered what the rules would be.
“No rules. Just reality.”
That made it a little clearer. Joe can depend on a lot of exciting sports seasons. Just choose your side and watch the news.
— From CB —
In my obsessive mode right now. Spent a day alone at the ocean making notes for our fifth novel; later, in the hostel, editing chapter 22 of our fourth and trying to figure what to do with the first three. This week starting to shoot for a good-quality video of Lear, which will pretty much take all summer. Finished reading a fascinating but incomprehensible early novel by Mario Vargas Llosa and a biography of Napoleon; midway through a superficial memoir of a guy’s career in the CIA; and heavily immersed in Billy Collins’ poetry. The meaning of it all? My characters ponder that intensely; I don’t.
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© Bishop & Fuller 2015