Saturday, February 11, 2012

An Afternoon with Lady Dawn

by Zinta Aistars

Dawn pulls her zippy little black sports car into the driveway. With the snow starting to come down again, I would have expected her to be in her other vehicle--a bad-ass big SUV of the heft and bulk that crushes mountains into pebbly rubble. She's my son's kind of woman, and I've been enjoying spending time with her and getting to know her better and how she fits into his life.

I'm not sure I've ever known him to be ... more right in his life. And that's saying something, to be right in his left life, standing straight in that crooked place, filled with hope when there seems so little reason to be. Yet a good partner, a champion when we need one, even when we don't need one, can do that for us.

I'll be darned if my son isn't happy.

What more can a mother's heart want? Nothing more, not one thing. Well, okay, I want a few more things for him. Messes unmessed, crooked lines straightened, and that hope to never fade, never ever again. I want it all for him. With frosting.

I've been enjoying getting to know his fair lady Dawn. We've shared a few meals, had long talks, and boy howdy can we discuss my son behind his back. Ha. That boy's ears must be on fire.

Today, we head to Transformations Spirituality Center together. We leave her little black car in my drive, huddle up in my blue one, and head across town. She's seen some of my painted stones around the house, but I want to show off my first official exhibit. When we pull up in the parking lot, someone toots a horn behind us.

"Sister Betsy!"

She jumps out from her car, bundled up in a warm winter jacket against the faster falling snow, black slacks, on the move, but she saw me and wanted to say hello. I introduce her to Dawn and it turns out that they have some people they know in common. Always good to see Sister Betsy ... she's the driving force behind my first art show, and I am ever grateful for the encouragement.

Dawn and I head on to the gallery, which is a long and bright white hall, lined with windows along one wall, art along the other. My art. Dawn signs my guest book and we wander down the line looking at painted stones and poetry.

Then lunch, or perhaps more of an early dinner, and we decide to try something a little different. I take us to Zooroona's, a Middle Eastern restaurant about which I wrote an article about a year ago. I give Dawn a quick history of the place as we make ourselves comfortable on pillows strewn across the floor at a low table, sitting cross legged. Habib Mandwee wanders by, the owner, keeping an ever watchful eye over the place.

I pour black tea with cardamom for us from a beautiful hammered copper pot into tiny tea glasses with tiny bronze spoons. I like drinking tea here just to get my hands on the tea service. A large platter is brought to us, along with a bowl of baba ganoush and warm triangles of pita bread. Culinary bliss.

We eat, we talk, my son's ears burn.

We also talk chickens. Dawn owns a nice piece of land outside of town with a pole barn and a coop full of hens and too many roosters. I want chickens, too. I think and I think and I think every day about my new old farmhouse out in the middle of southwest Michigan nowhere, home in just one more month, and how wonderful it would be to hear the pak-pak-paaaak of a few chickens, all hens, out back in that barn building that already has a small opening in the wall where a chicken coop once already was. Fresh eggs!

We talk chickens and building shelves with nest boxes and the fresh eggs I will serve for Sunday breakfasts, for me and for anyone I want to have over on a Sunday morning for breakfast. We gossip about my son and simmer his ears and we talk about Middle Eastern food and we talk about a bit of nonsense, too, and the afternoon is good, very good.

The snow is coming down powder fine, the roads are slippy as we drive home, and the evening coming on is full of hope for a bright future, dotted with fresh eggs and painted stones and a peaceful mother's heart.


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