On Sunday afternoon, I was feeling down. It could have been (probably was) hormonal, because I was in a depressing mood even after the Brunch Committee had finally found a worthy, good-service, not-too-expensive brunch in Tulsa at Lava Noshery on Brookside. That's enough to be happy about, but I wasn't feeling it. In going to the restaurant, which really was fabulous (Grant had the biggest french toast I've ever seen with bourbon peaches), we even braved the intimidating white buildings to go eat there. And now that I figured out that the modern places wouldn't turn us away (think the first shopping scene in Pretty Woman), I'm going to be unstoppable on that side of the street. But enough about that. Because I was still in a bad mood.
I turned down a trip to the bookstore with Whitters, which really had her worried, and for good reason. I never turn down a trip to the bookstore. I got some alone time, though, that I needed, and even though I was not looking forward to the act of getting there, I climbed in my car and drove to Vinita for a Father's Day dinner.
And I'm so glad I did.
Because my air conditioner is broken (AGAIN), I drove the entire way with the top down, just absorbing the sunshine. And maybe sweating a little bit. I sang along to my radio, narrowly avoided a rainstorm, and got there a little windswept and a little bit more content than when I left my house. Dad got me a beer, liked his presents, and Mary Ma came over bearing a TON of food.
They both kept saying, "I thought you were bringing Grant," and while the amount of food she brought over was a lot for just the three of us, it also would have been a lot for the four of us. We dug in and did our best, eating steak (medium rare - YUM), pork chops, a bean salad, green beans, and a really tasty squash casserole.
Dad asked for the squash casserole as his only request for "his" meal, and Mary Ma said she'd make cheese grits, and he could grill zucchini outside. I think that gave him pause, and then he countered saying, "But that's not squash casserole." Mary Ma responded with saying that grits and a squash casserole would be two heavy dishes, so... I'm guessing Dad won.
At the end of dinner, with no dessert necessary, the three of us sat in Dad's living room. My great-grandparents built the house, and he is renovating it after it was in the hands of people outside our family for some years. I have a few scattered memories of the place, and one of the most vibrant is eating lunch with my Grampsie, because the after-lunch activities were a little frustrating to this little girl. He wanted to take a nap. I wanted to play. In the dining room, he'd put his feet up on his dining room chair while lying on the floor and cover his face with his handkerchief. And then go to sleep, or at least try to, with me right next to him. I'm not patient as an adult, and I sure wasn't then, so I'd keep asking if we could wrestle or read yet. I'm sure it was a satisfying siesta.
But after the big dinner we had Sunday, I can see the appeal. Instead of lying down in the dining room, I chose the couch, and Dad made me coffee for my drive back. We all talked and watched the storm out his big windows. I love getting to spend that kind of time with my family.
Dad went into the kitchen, and my Mary Ma asked me if I had a tattoo. I said yes, and she asked me where, and I told her it was on my hip. She said that wasn't so bad, and she told me that her grandmother used to think the same things about ear piercings and ankle bracelets that she does about tattoos. I explained that the three stars had meaning to me and represented Orion's belt, one of the first constellations my Dad taught me about in the car rides we took together across the state. That constellation has always been a constant in my not-always-stable life and comforts me whenever I see it. Orion is a hunter, and his belt is a symbol of strength, and I'm glad I have it permanently represented on my body. Not to mention, Seth has three stars tattooed on his back, so it really reminds me of family. My family.
I told all this to Mary Ma, and told her my mother's reaction to the same explanation. When I talked to Mom about it, Grant and I were talking to her in the living room in Kingfisher. She said she might as well go get the same tattoo since it represented family. I told her she should, and she said, "COURTNEY." as only a mother can. I'm guessing that meant she was joking. Grant told her that nothing would make Seth regret his tattoo more than finding out his mother had the same one. Probably true. When I related this story to my Mary Ma, she said that the only way SHE'D ever get a tattoo was if she went with me. Isn't that the best compliment?