Baseball, Romance, and Jazz

Photo by Autumn Mott Rodeheaver on Unsplash

The World Series is on while I wash the lunch dishes at nearly dinnertime. A load of whites is agitating around in the washing machine, in the room on the back deck, as the evening goes from periwinkles and lemon ice to lavender, mauve, pale rose, hints of coral and cerulean. I’m playing old school jazz as I watch the score change on my cell phone just tuned to the headline scores. I wish I could listen to a game on the radio like my great-grandfather used to, as I really don’t have the time to watch the nationals eek out a better baseball score.

Never mind, I’m turning on the game. I have to see if these points wracking up quickly make for a good game….. they do. It was worth my time to turn on the game and get immersed in the plays. Yelling at a completely ridiculous call by what must be a biased umpire. That play was totally legit! Where were his eyes?! I am yelling at the television, my father and I, neither one of us sports watchers, totally involved with the call coming in from the head of the NBL umpires association.

There’s nothing more American than a baseball game. I picture Steve Rogers listening to the Dodgers on his front porch as Peggy mixes up cookie dough in an old and well loved mixing bowl of Pyrex glass. I just have finished watching the final Avengers film and Steve and Peggy dancing in their craftsman style home, with the windows open and the radio playing… Now when I say I want that, you can’t imagine how much of a dream that is. “Kiss me once and kiss me twice, then kiss me once again, it’s been a long, long time….”

It’s nearly November and all the leaves have escaped the hold each mother tree had on them. Now stark and bare, practically indecent, it’s just spread branches and trunks. Somebody get them a coat! I’m reminded of the Barney Miller line, “We caught a flasher.” “In THIS weather?!” for who wants to have an ounce of flesh exposed to the dry ice air? The wind pulls any moisture right out of every living cell and leaves behind a cracked and parched shell.

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

The Washington Nationals have won the series after seven games. A historic game, just like the Cubs winning two years ago. Sports has been fun. And a week has gone by. The air is now balmy in the day. Nearly seventy and warm enough to dry laundry on the line. From freezing to balmy. Mountain life is lovely like that. The time change throws us all off, rushing around to find it is only 4pm with the sun gone. Thank goodness we are attempting to reorganize our schedules so we are up sooner in the day. It’s amazing what can get done when one is up before midday. A novel thought.

I’m sitting outside at this moment, it’s just after 5pm. Evening has come….

A rosy twilight settled in, pink hued glow over every building and tree, the sky pastel shades of pink, coral, baby boy blue. The oaks in their brown coats turned a shade more burnt sienna and bittersweet red, like the crayons in every child’s box of coloring supplies. It was a “La vie en rose” moment as if a pair of rose colored glasses had slipped over the world and people walked hand in hand up the sidewalks and past lit storefronts and cozy eateries. The scent in the air of damp leaves and wood smoke, fragrant from incense cedar and pine, alder and oak. The wood that burns in the wood stoves and fireplaces in the mountains is so much more fragrant than any other place. Everything smells so much better.

Right now the coffee I drink tastes like I was at my grandparent’s cabin in the Sierra Nevadas, in mid August or September, when the cabin gets a bit chilly in the afternoon because the wood stove isn’t burning and the sun is shifting behind the trees towards it’s western route. Miles Davis is playing “When I Fall In Love”. The trumpets just get to me and make me tear up. I was listening to a lot of Miles Davis as I slowly lost Rugburn a year and a half ago. Miles Davis and his jazz era has been hard for me to listen too in the last year because of that. I miss him a little too much these days.

The days are short, and time is sweet. Let me dream of baseball, and good romance and the sweet sounds of the best jazz music that makes your heart clench and cling.

Kate

Flattery Might Get You Somewhere

Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

Are you the Executive Chef?” comes the question from the dignified gentleman over the protective glass barrier.

“No,” I reply, “but I am the pizza chef and pastry chef.”  Days later I wish I would have said ‘yet’ instead of ‘no’.  Do I think I will ever be the executive chef? No. Do I have aspirations for that? Um, maybe a little, but not really. I mean, to say I am an actual Chef might be nice, but not my goal in life.

The gentleman spent the next few minutes asking questions about my training (two years of this restaurant are my only training) which surprised him at how incredible the food he ordered was. He rated my basque cheesecake as second only to his wife’s first place title.  Asked about what I was making saying he’d have to come back the next night for it (he did. In fact, their entire order the next night, from appetizer to dessert, came from me) and complimented me on how far I had moved up. It was a flattering and delightful conversation as he was a very nice older man.

Later that night I was offered a hand in marriage. Granted, the guy that asked was a tad on the tipsy side of things, but it was cute. I was a little too flustered to answer more blithely, but still, I did get out a “I’ll keep it in mind.’  He was cute.

This job is never dull. I can’t imagine a dull moment. From interesting conversations with customers (pardon, guests) to working with the many quirks of my coworkers, it is never boring. I’m glad, actually, when I have down time to clean a different area, or scrub the walk-in, or something like just putting away dishes. That doesn’t happen often.  This week alone I made four cheesecakes. I think. I’ve stopped counting. I’ve made so many cheesecakes that I have the recipe memorized.

“What’s the recipe?” Jersey Boy asks about something else. I tap my head and he doesn’t listen and pulls out the “bible” (our recipe binder) instead. “Is it in here?”

No, it’s in my head. most of my recipes are in my head. Oh sure, I do have them written down or accessible on my  phone… provided you know where to look, but they are mostly done off of memory.  Hence why a week ago I made a 4 egg olive oil cake with 7 eggs…. Ooops.  The cake rose reeeaaaalllly well in the oven… But most things turn out the exact way, each time. Which is good. Consistency is key.

Coffeeman asks me if I have all the new recipes down. I sarcastically giggle via text and say no, because Jersey Boy, well he doesn’t believe in having these things written down. He wings a lot of things. And for someone who says he has recipes…. he doesn’t. He gets them from the internet. Have I gotten recipes from the internet? Sure. Cooks Illustrated, Food 5.2, Bon Appetit, etc. All established cookeries. Jersey Boy… not so much.  Then spends his time bragging about the one spiced cake he makes for a special, that doesn’t sell well at all.  Ah yes, that was a fun week. “I made that.” He brags. “Not K, she didn’t make that. I made that.”

We all roll our eyes. “What. An. Idiot.” Says Hermione in reference to Ron Weasely. I so relate, girl. I so relate.

Like I said. Never a dull moment.

I’ve been missing Coffeeman like the devil lately. He’s been on my mind so much that now I’m having dreams again. Not good either. Not bad, but not right. Things that happen that worry me. I do believe in prophetic dreams. I’ve mentioned it before. So I get really nervous when I have one. They don’t happen too often…. Pardon, I’ve already had three this year.  All spot on, one even to the day Wildflower and Lucifer had their baby girl. Trust me, that was a weird one.

I’ve been remembering the good points with Coffeeman, the things that made such a huge difference in my life. One that keeps coming back around, and that I reminded him of was one of those first “A Ha” moments a month or so after he took over. I came into a nearly silent kitchen. In those days it was hard pressed to find a day that didn’t involve prep lists filling up the white board, too many people in the kitchen, not enough surfaces to work, and not enough time. Utter chaos. Lucifer created a ton of chaos; so did Wildflower.

Well, there was this kitchen with every surface clean, and this is three in the afternoon, mind you, when cooking has been going on since eight or nine in the morning and there was a lunch rush and dinner started in two hours. There was only Coffeeman and our morning pizza guy on as Lucifer and Wildflower were on their lunches, and all the prep was done. Like literally, the white board was clean. I looked at Coffeeman and said “What am I supposed to do?”  I think he replied with “we’ll find something” or a “here, let’s try this” and I was learning something new.

I miss days like that when there is not much chaos. Jersey Boy creates a lot. I’ve started taking on the, “No, let’s not start a new project. Let’s finish what has been started and clear off these surfaces and clean them!”

I miss Coffeeman so much these days.  But, without him being gone I might not have had a “Are you the executive chef?” being asked…..

Nor a, “Marry me tonight.”

Kate