Friday, December 21, 2007

Art With Words

Art to me is more than just sewing, painting, and making something out of an object (or several of them). Art is also the ability to paint picutres in another persons head. Here's my latest 'painting'.

A Culinary Adventure

He heard her humming the happy nonsensical tune she always hummed when she made her sweet potato pecan pie. He could hear her take down the set of nine clear glass nesting bowls. He liked the dull thunk-clink sounds they made as she lifted them off the shelf, each bowl shifting around inside the next. He heard her place them on the kitchen counter, no doubt the part of the counter he like to play on when she wasn’t using the stove. She then stopped humming, or maybe he just couldn’t hear her over the running water. She must be filling up the big shiny pot to cook the 2 ½ pounds of sweet potatoes for the pie. He knew there would be an extra sweet potato she’d turn into a special ‘pie’ just for him. If his mouth could water in anticipation of the treat it would be right now!
He heard the click of the stove followed by the hiss of the water turning into a vapor as the stoves electric coil burners heated up under the shiny pot. ‘Click-swish-thoonk, click-click-swish-thoonk’ was the next group of sounds he heard emanating from the kitchen. He adjusted his weight on the soft tufts of the ends of a dozen multi-colored cotton ropes he was comfortably seated upon. Yes, that sound was the sound the potato peeler made as she peeled the unwanted skin off the delectable sweet potatoes. He knew the next sound would be the sound of the sharp knife she wouldn’t let him near slicing each hard rosy red oblong sweet potato, then the splash-splash-splash as she carefully dropped a handful of sweet potato cubes at a time into the water, which, by the sound of the ‘plunk’ of the expanding metal of the shiny pot, hadn’t reached the boiling point yet. He didn’t like when she let the water boil over the edge of the pot, the evil hiss-hiss the water made when it hit the red hot coils frightened him. So far she was being careful since he hadn’t heard any hissing and he was sure the water was at a full boil now, magically turning the rock hard sweet potatoes, which tasted quite yucky, into the soft gooshey treat he loved so much.
He heard her humming begin again as he heard her separate the nine nesting bowls and line some of them up on the counter. He’d helped her often enough to know the smallest bowl would hold the 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. He liked the way it smelled, all sweet, spicy, cozy, and warm.
The next bigger bowl, bowl number eight, would be used to hold the 1 teaspoon of real vanilla extract. He’d gotten a good sniff of the vanilla once, it made him sneeze. Bowl number four, he knew for a fact, would be used to hold the 1 cup of pecan halves. His pie would get pecans, too, although he didn’t really like the taste of the pecans, but she knew how much fun he had picking the sticky skin the sweet potatoes created on the top of the pie after it was baked off of them, and how he loved to see just how far he could toss the flat brown ridged nuts across the room.
Bowl number three is always used to hold the 16 ounces of firm cubed tofu. Tofu was funny stuff, especially when you stand on it. It’s kind of like standing on a wet kitchen sponge, cold, squishy and a bit wobbly if you stand too close to the edge. Bowl five was for the ½ cup of honey. The sweet potatoes never got one of the clear glass nesting bowls. She always put those directly into the food processor from the strainer. The 9 inch graham cracker crust also never got a bowl of its own, even though she had bowls plenty big enough for it to fit in.
“Oh, bother!” he heard her exclaim from the kitchen as he recognized the metallic clunking of the silverware as she fished for a fork in the silverware drawer. He heard the stove knob click to the off position and then the scraping sound as she dragged the heavy pot over the burner’s electric coil. The splash of the water accompanied by the sounds of her blowing the steam rising from the sweet potatoes out of her face followed. The pie wouldn’t be much longer now. He was glad he couldn’t drool; he didn’t like the feeling of the multi-colored cotton tufts under his feet when they got wet.
He heard her walking rapidly around the kitchen, clanging and clattering its contents as she moved from here to there. Something wasn’t right. At this point he should be able to hear her add all the ingredients, except the pecans and the crust to the food processor and process them until they were smooth. Then, once that was done she’d place the pecans in the bottom of the crust before pouring the sweet potato mixture over top and smoothing it out evenly. Then, all he’d have to wait for was for her to bake the pie in the 400 degree oven for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted in the center came out basically clean, she often explained to him. ‘What was wrong?’ he wondered.
“Worthington, I forgot the honey and need to dash out and pick some up. I’ll be gone about thirty minutes and will assemble the pies as soon as I get back.” She said to him, explaining her exclamation.
Worthington was very upset at this delay, especially since it was an avoidable one. He turned his back on her to let her know just how upset he was.
“Sorry Worthington, I was sure I had honey in the kitchen somewhere.” She apologized as she locked him in his cage for his own safety. She then turned her back on him, gathered her things and left, dead bolting the door behind her.
Worthington turned around and faced the locked cage door and listened for her to start her car and drive off. A thirty minute delay was unforgivable in his book. Well, he had no intentions of waiting for her to get home. He was going to get some sweet potato now, end of discussion! Worthington got determinedly off his comfortable seat and made his way nimbly to the locked front door of his cage. He looked down at the lock and noticed the door never fully latched! He, with a bit of work, could carefully lift the latch with his beak and open it. So, bracing himself with one foot on the door and one foot on the cage wall, he stuck his small hooked beak through the bars and scraped the point of his upper beak against the latch, grabbing nothing but air. His second try yielded the results he sought; he caught the small hole in the latch with the tip of his upper beak and slowly and carefully lifted it until the lock popped. He let the latch drop from his beak, causing the cage door to swing open slightly. Worthington leaned his entire 3.4 ounce body forward, causing the cage door to swing noiselessly open and him to fall out onto the carpeted floor below with a soft pluthunk. He fluffed his overcast grey feathers and turned his sunshiny yellow face which was accented by two sunset orange ear patches from left to right to get his bearings.
‘Kitchen, due left.’ He twittered to himself.
He extended his wings, each accented on the lower edge with a half moon trimming colored in freshly fallen snow white. Worthington pondered distance and flight path in this position for a moment before flapping rapidly and becoming airborne. He headed for the kitchen and then aimed his sleek aerodynamic body toward the kitchen sink where he knew the sweet potatoes were waiting for him. He propelled himself through the sweet potato scented air of the living room and then through the kitchen doorway.
“SCREACH!!!’ Worthington shouted out loud as he was forced to take a sudden hard left and then a hard right to avoid crashing into the refrigerator. He came to a skidding stop on the small section of kitchen counter located between the refrigerator and stove. He took a quick inventory of himself. Finding himself to still be intact, he looked around the room for the very large, very noisy, way too fuzzy hideous iridescent green eyed horsefly that had nearly knocked him out of the air. He hated flies. They gave him the willies.
He didn’t see the icky fly, thank goodness. Ok, back to the mission at foot, the sweet potatoes. He knew he wasn’t allowed on the stove under any circumstances, so Worthington once again extended both of his wings over his head and double checked flight path and direction before flapping his wings just hard enough to levitate his 3.4 ounces a foot off the counter, then gradually he elevated himself to three feet as he passed over the forbidden stove, and finally came to a soft landing on the counter on the other side of the stove.
He’d opted to walk to the sink rather than fly, due to the strong possibility that the large way too fuzzy horsefly might reenter the kitchen and come after him again. As he walked the aluminum band on his left leg made a soft rhythmic tap-tap-tap on the Formica countertop. He passed the empty nesting bowl that would have contained the honey if she hadn’t forgotten it. He passed the two smallest nesting bowls containing the vanilla and spice taking note of their location so he wouldn’t run into them. But, when he came to the bowl containing the pecans, he put his sweet potato mission on hold for a moment. Worthington walked boldly up to nesting bowl size number four, the rim of which came up to his neck, and mischievously dragged a pecan half off the side closest to him. He then dragged the pilfered nut to the edge of the kitchen counter and threw it as hard and far as he could.
‘Not bad.’ Worthington thought to himself as the nut hit the kitchens almond and maroon checker board linoleum tile and split into four pieces. The furthest piece landing five tiles from the counter, a new record!
The heady aroma of the sweet potatoes still sitting in the big blue strainer in the sink just to his right beckoned him. Further resistance was futile! He walked the last ten steps to the sinks edge and took in the glorious sight before him, an enormous mountain of red orange soft gooshey cubes nearly the same color as his ear patches. Knowing from past experience that the sinks edge was slippery his first couple of steps were cautious and tentative, but not quite cautious enough. He began to slip. He flapped his wings in a desperate, but pointless attempt to regain his balance. He slipped and slid, his aluminum leg band making a dreadful scraping sound against the stainless steel of the sink. After what seemed like forever his struggle ended with a soft squishy plop into the center of the mound of still slightly warm sweet potatoes. If he could smile, he’d be smiling right now.
Worthington wiggled his eight toes joyously in the sweet potatoes, feeling the warm softness ooze between them. He made a couple of happy cockatiel noises before opening his beak as wide as he could, taking an almost too big of a bite of the treasured treat.
That first bite was total taste bud heaven! Worthington burbled joyously to himself as he immersed his face once again into the mountain of gooshey red orange cubes. With total rapture he crammed mouthful after mouthful into his small tummy. He was so engrossed in consuming his favorite treat that he didn’t notice that with every bite and every shift of his weight, he sunk deeper and deeper into the large pile of sweet potatoes. He also didn’t notice that her car had pulled into the driveway, neither did he hear her sneeze as she stood just outside the front door. But, he did, however, hear her put the key into the dead bolt and then the metallic thunk the tumblers always made as she turned the key.
‘Uh-oh,’ he thought to himself as he swallowed yet another mouthful, “better not get caught.” he burbled out loud in cockatiel.
But, when he tried to lift his left foot out of the gooshey mountain, he couldn’t, it was stuck and stuck good! He tried to lift his right foot out of the red orange goo as she entered the living room, the crinkly sounds of the plastic grocery bag giving away her precise location in the room.
“Worthington?” she asked, startled to see his cage empty and the door ajar.
“Twerble!” he tried to call with his mouth was full of sweet potato.
“Worthington?” she called again, the crinkling of the bag telling Worthington that she was approaching the kitchen doorway.
“Tweeble!” he managed to mumble.
“Oh my goodness! Worthington Israel Wentworth!” she exclaimed a bit louder than was necessary with her hands firmly planted on her hips.
“Tweeble!” he managed to mumble again as he lifted his wings over his head and flapped as hard as he could. Although he was still unable to free himself from the strainers contents, he did manage to displace some of the goo from around his lower half and onto the kitchen’s cabinets.
“Ok! I get the point, you’re stuck!” she said rapidly, hoping to calm him and stop any further spraying of sweet potato around the kitchen. She put the crinkly grocery bag down on the counter as she turned the water on over the unoccupied half of the sink.
“Burble.” He apologized as she wrapped her hand around him and lifted him gently out of the large pile of sweet potatoes. As his body exited the contents of the strainer, it made a loud sucking sound that could be heard over the running water, “Twee.” He added with relief.
“My goodness!” she exclaimed as she rotated her hand so he was feet side up and held him under the stream of running warm water and with her free hand picked the sweet potato out of each and every feather on his body.
He really, really hated getting bathed, but it was better than being stuck, even in delicious sweet potatoes. Once completely clean, she lovingly toweled dry his now 4.2 ounces as she carried him back to his cage, placed him still slightly damp on his favorite cotton rope toy, and securely locked him into his cage. He was glad he hadn’t waited, he thought to himself as he settled down for a much needed nap.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story. I could see it all in my head as I was reading it. Can't wait to read more adventures.