A pretend charcuterie

We were hit by the first winter storm last week.
It was a doozy or felt like it, but it was a mere sample of what is yet to come. I know Fort Frances is all too familiar with winter storms and I remember them well from my childhood, though at that time they were exciting rather than burdensome.
My power went out shortly after the heavy wet snow fell.
I trudged out to my shed and dug out the ramp and dragged my generator the thirty feet to the house and fired it up. I had lights and heat and water and was snug as a bug.
In preparation for the storm I purchased the necessary ingredients to assemble my own charcuterie board to ride out the storm. I like saying charcuterie and by definition it is the collection of cold cooked meats.
I don’t often have cold cooked meats on my charcuterie, but I tell myself it’s still a charcuterie.
It makes me feel like I’m preparing a banquet for myself, which makes me think of Thea because every time we are together she creates a masterpiece with cheese and crackers and olives and sliced apples and cold cooked meats.
So when I am missing her I prepare my own charcuterie though it doesn’t compare, not really, so I end up missing her more.
As the young woman rang up my groceries she held the container of garlic-stuffed olives and declared her disdain for them, shivering to drive her point home while I clutched my chest confessing my love for them. She doesn’t care for Brie cheese either.
As I headed home I got to thinking, creating a mental list of things I like.
As a kid I willingly recited the long list that read like “War and Peace,” of what I didn’t like to eat with the likes of potatoes and boiled cabbage, but it never altered what appeared on my plate at mealtime.
I had a firm obligation to eat everything in front of me, resulting in many hours alone at the kitchen table staring at the potatoes on my plate, urging them to vanish without my having to eat them. It never worked.
I tried some creative disposal techniques but was caught red-handed.
Now, as an adult, I like to think in terms of what I like rather than what I don’t like, not limiting the list to things I like to eat.
I like to let cars merge in front of me whenever I have the chance. I like to hold doors for people and make eye contact with those who look beaten up by life. I like to let those shoppers with a few items go ahead of me in the line at the check-out.
I like to stop and listen to the pileated woodpecker as he drums his tune and I pretend he is impersonating Bill Shine.
I try not to be bothered by the amount of cat hair that Finnegan leaves on my favourite chair.
I must confess that is still a work in progress. I like to make Rice Krispie squares (though we call it cake in my house despite the lack of flour) for my grandsons even though the postage costs about three hundred percent more than the actual Rice Krispie cake.
I try not to be perturbed by that, but again, a work in progress. I like when sunshine makes me sneeze and when I capture the smell of the breeze on my pillowcases.
And while I wait out the winter storm, I like apples and walnuts and brie cheese and olives on my pretend charcuterie while pretending Thea made it for me.
wendistewart@live.ca

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