(Not So) Common Sense
Another holiday meal in the history books, and I have to face a few facts.
By Carole Townsend
It’s taken me a few weeks to think about this topic, a few weeks to chew on it, so to speak. I’m left with some cold, hard facts.
Growing up as I did, one of many children with lots of aunts and uncles, holidays were always highlighted with big meals. Of course, Thanksgiving was the Queen Mother of all these spreads, but Easter was always right up there, too. My mom and my aunts would cook for days, everything made from scratch. For nearly thirty years, I have tried to live up to that legacy, and I’ve fallen woefully short. Oh don’t get me wrong; I am a pretty good cook, even by the South’s (and my aunts’) high standards. But a few years ago, I had an epiphany.
No matter how long a cook takes to prepare a meal, no matter how many hard-to-find ingredients are lovingly stirred into the dishes, no matter how great a hand-me-down recipe may be, it still takes everyone about a half hour to eat the entire repast. Isn’t that true? That light bulb came on when my children were young, and it has grown brighter every year. Yes, my family appreciates my cooking but hey, what they don’t know won’t hurt them, will it?
There are several bakeries out there that turn out better yeast rolls than I do, and I make a pretty mean roll. The Honey Baked Ham Company has me beat hands down in the main course department. Potato salad is sold in every store in the free world, and most of them taste the same - awful. Nobody in my family will eat it anyway. That leaves, say, baked beans (how hard can they be?), deviled eggs (my youngest daughter’s specialty) and maybe a salad. I will make a dessert or two, just because I enjoy baking. There. Those short cuts save me hours in the kitchen. I now spend those hours doting on our granddaughter, on our own children (if they let me), and always, on my husband and our dogs.
I had to check myself this year, as I almost crossed a line that I’m not sure I’m ready to cross yet. You see, I have a big event coming up this week – the launch of my fourth book, no less - leaving me almost no time to prepare for the family and friends we expected to celebrate with us on Easter. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a great problem to have, but still…
I was in my local supermarket a few days before Easter, and I saw pre-colored eggs for sale. They weren’t the plastic ones you fill with surprises and hide; they were actual eggs someone else had dyed and packaged, probably last summer, but I don’t know that for sure. I actually picked up a carton or two, then stopped myself.
The day I get too busy to dye Easter eggs is the day I’m way too busy. That vinegary smell and the hopelessly stained dog fur and little fingers that go with egg dyeing are all part of the experience. I can do without slaving in the kitchen; I won’t do without the family memories. Truth be told, I think I enjoy the egg-coloring activity more than the children ever did. Come to think of it, I remember a lot of crying and gagging from them when they were youngsters, but I soldiered on anyway. Some things just must be done. They’ll forget the vinegar, the crying and the gagging, but oh, the memories of the fun. They live on.
I’ll share something else I saw in the supermarket that I thought was both funny and a little ironic: camouflage plastic Easter eggs. I mean, think about that. Kind of negates the whole point of hiding them in the first place, doesn’t it?
Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. Her fourth and newest book, BLOOD IN THE SOIL, is slated for April 12 publication. It is the true tale of a crime that took place in Gwinnett County nearly 40 years ago. Her other three books are MAGNOLIAS, SWEET TEA & EXHAUST, RED LIPSTICK & CLEAN UNDERWEAR, and SOUTHERN FRIED WHITE TRASH. Carole’s unmistakable honest humor and clever writing style earned her national fame almost instantly, when her first book was published in 2011. “Townsend has her readers laughing from page one; her gut-honest humor is starkly, hilariously funny.” (Los Angeles Times, Nov. 2012). Carole has appeared on local and national news and talk shows, including CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. When not writing, she travels throughout the southeast region, teaching writers’ workshops, speaking to various civic and literary groups, and advocating for the health and well being of the family. For more information, visit www.caroletownsend.com.