Celebrating food, wine, life and love in Oregon wine country
August 7, 2011
A Little Love Story
Even though I'd been promised a breakfast of lox and bagels with the works, while lying awake in bed in the wee hours, thoughts of lemon buttermilk pancakes kept popping into my head. I tried to push the pancake thoughts aside in between thinking and fretting, contemplations both anxious and excited. We've not been sleeping well at night here lately. Yes, there are lots of exhilarating future possibilities bubbling below the surface, but the thing that mostly keeps us awake is sorrow. Our beloved Murray the Amazing Wonderdog is slipping away from us with cancer and we are preparing ourselves.
Lying awake with so much on my mind makes me hungry, so I bumble out of bed before sunrise and gather pancake ingredients from the pantry. This is so unlike me, whose internal clock tends toward the night owl setting. My vigilance over Murray has heightened other thoughts and observations about this morning, too. I notice the cool morning air which pours over the hills outside our east-facing door and windows, filling the house with a subtle pressure before its escape out the westerly door and windows. I notice that Murray, who pants and breathes hard at night, has a little wag to his tail this morning as he joins me in the kitchen, a hopeful sign that our days together aren't yet ready to end. I walk out on the east deck to see golden and pink sun rays reach over the hills. I notice a softly lit wispy layer of low-lying fog puff around the huge hay bales in our farmer-neighbor's field out our north-facing front door, and hear the intense low buzz of a hummingbird gathering its dawn breakfast.
I know My Baby hasn't slept much either, and after putting the kettle on the stove for tea, walk back to the guest room bed where we are sleeping (our bedroom is up a flight of stairs which Murray-Dog is having trouble negotiating so we have temporarily moved to the guest quarters for him) to kiss his forehead and ask if he wants pancakes and tea before trying to capture a little more rest. Yes, he drowsily says, if you bring them here and we have some together.
Back in the kitchen the teapot begins singing softly, its bubbling contents awaking Darjeeling leaves. My 32-year-old copy of Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook is pulled from the shelf and nearly flips itself open to the stained pancake page. I reach into the refrigerator for buttermilk, an egg, and a lemon and only now notice that I've purchased low fat buttermilk, and wonder how that will work in the pancakes. (Note to self: Make optometrist appointment. Label reading has become impaired by outdated Rx.) I smile when I pull the cast-iron skillet from its hook and appreciate that My Baby had just seasoned it yesterday. Perfect timing.
Even though it's early and we are sleepy and heavyhearted, I take the time to dust the pancakes with powdered sugar and drape a lemon slice across both platefuls, because life is just too special to not make it special.
We sip and nibble in the quiet, then are able to fall asleep in each others arms, Murray the Amazing Wonderdog settling in near the foot of the bed. When we awake, there will be lox and bagels and strong black coffee. And whatever else the day brings.