Living at college for so long, it’s easy to forget about the nice things home life has to offer. Champlain College is weird about which federal holidays affect classes, so I’ve lost touch over the last several years with “reality,” as it were. That being said, it was pleasant to see the bulk of businesses (and all the schools) closed this Monday, in observation of Memorial Day.
As such, it was my great pleasure to partake in the traditional Memorial Day Feast: hot dogs and cheeseburgers on the grill, home cooked baked beans, corn on the cob, and a couple other, less traditional hors d’oeuvres. And what feast would be complete without a multitude with which to share it? My friend attending West Point (go her) and her twin sister recently got into town, so it was their family’s pleasure to host. When the burgers were ready, two plates were set on the island in the kitchen. The grillmaster pointed to one, “These are more medium.” Pointing at the other, he said, “These are more well done.” With that, we joined hands around the island, a prayer was said, and everybody dug right in.
Naturally, the food was delicious. Responsibility had been divided among the attending families, so the hosts had only as much to worry about as they could produce. Because of this, there was no piece of the meal that was distinctly inferior to the rest. Food is good, but a meal with friends makes everything better, and it was fantastic to sit and talk to my childhood friends about fantasy fiction and Star Wars and the new Zelda. It’s a place of beautiful nostalgia, and one that I’ve not been in a rather long time. In college, I was very removed from the world at large, and that was not a bad thing. However, it’s moving to not only see but to participate in a holiday doing its job: bringing people together in the name of memorializing someone or something.
The other main thing that my collegiate isolation always robbed me of was the joy of a good home cooked meal. Even after I aged out, my father remained active in my Boy Scout Troop. Another troop dad, Mr. Lee, deep sea fishes in his spare time, and is apparently quite good at it. Frequently, he keeps more fish than he has use for, and he gives away the excess. My father was an avid supporter of Mr. Lee’s son while he was in the troop, so a good relationship developed there. My father is now one of the people who, semi regularly, gets Mr. Lee’s extra fish. The next day after Memorial Day, he cooked up the two sea bass that had been waiting for the proper occasion (my mother to be out of the house). They’d been gutted, but still had the eyes, head, and bones. All my dad had to do was stuff them with some onion, garlic, orange, and tarragon, wrap them individually in aluminum foil, and throw them on the grill. When they were done and unwrapped, the aroma was heavenly. Garlic and fish headlined, naturally, but this was nothing like low tide. The hints of orange and terragon in both the aroma and the flavor complimented the mellow flavor of the bass itself, and since we each had an eighteen inch fish to ourselves, neither of us went hungry. Nor was there any left over after we’d had our way with them. I always thought that an eyeball would pop like a grape when I bit down on it, but fish eyes are firm and chalky, and very full of flavor. I ate both of mine.
I suppose it’s good to be home. I was worried about the transition back, since this one ends when I actually move out, but it’s gone quite nicely so far. Here’s to the next few months.