Playdates with God: Lettuce

On Father’s Day I am rinsing the lettuce from my little garden and drying the springy green leaves one at a time with a towel and I remember the salad spinner that my friend Mary Alice used to have and I wonder if those things are still made these days. There must be some secret to this, I am pondering, and I think about my farmer friends and wonder if they hang these things on the clothesline. I tried the colander but it wasn’t working fast enough—my in-laws will be arriving soon and the salad still not made. I try shaking the leaves before the towel drying and my husband comes in smelling like smoke from the ribs he is tending outside, takes one look at my production, and we laugh. This is very labor intensive.
But, I force myself to slow down and when I do, I notice how beautiful the green is and it gives me immense satisfaction to handle these delicate gifts from the earth. My dad telephones and a boy runs the receiver in to me. I cradle it between my shoulder and ear—let my hands continue the work.
I saw you called, babe.”
And I can tell by his voice where he’s been but somehow the crisp green between my fingers says it’s ok and I tell him happy Father’s Day and how is everyone up there? Somehow we get to talking about my little garden and I hear his voice find something and he tells me about the acres my grandfather used to farm and how the family garden was about half an acre and how you can’t grow corn around here because the soil isn’t just right. He tells me how, at the end, grandma didn’t can so much anymore but she had a big freezer and would freeze everything.
“But she never stopped making her tomato juice.
He waxes poetic about the tomato juice and his voice makes me homesick for everything I never knew about my grandma and I grope around in my mind for any scrap of memory that might be there. But all that breaks the surface is the basement of our old house, how mom’s tomato juice looked lined up on the shelves against the walls in that musty place. Those mason jars a thing of beauty and I can almost taste the tangy barb of that redness.
I look out the window at my tomato plants—how they are tucked in neatly in their little square bed.
“Don’t you need a lot of tomatoes to make juice?”
I wonder aloud, and he laughs and we are having a good conversation and my fingers tingle with the feel of the wet lettuce.
When I put the phone back in its cradle I try not to overthink everything—just enjoy. A few hours before, in church, I shared this story and hard as it was…it felt good.
The salad is done, the potatoes are baking, and my love is putting the finishing touches on the chicken at the grill. I sit on the back deck in the sun and wonder at the joy a simple conversation can bring. And I wonder how many of the world’s ills have been given a new face during the rinsing and drying of a batch of lettuce.
Maybe I don’t need that salad spinner after all. 
How about you? How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. And come tell us about it.

Grab my new button at the bottom of the page and join us!

Sharing with L.L. Barkat today also:

On In Around button

And Michelle:

And Jen too!
It’s a linky party today!


  1. says

    Yes, the salad spinners are still out there. We use ours on a regular basis! 🙂

    I love the part about not overthinking, just enjoying the conversation. Just being. With each other.

    My weekend was nice and slow. I didn’t want it to end.

  2. says

    How wonderful it is to find Heaven hidden in an everyday conversation or right here at a BBQ.

    ‘I sit on the back deck in the sun and wonder at the joy a simple conversation can bring.’

    Simple goodness 🙂


  3. says

    It’s all perspective isn’t it? Allowing Him to be part of our lives….abiding….always abiding because we never know when His love will move in us.
    I dread Father’s day every year….praying for what to say that honors that would connect us. Glad you embraced Love.

  4. says

    I remember going to an Emilie Barnes seminar where she told us to put our lettuce leaves in a lingerie bag and put it on the spin cycle in the washer. While I liked Emilie Barnes, I can’t help but think how glad I am you didn’t do that. Hearing over the spin cycle is next to impossible. And you heard so much. Love to you. To be as tender and yet as strong as one of those lettuce leaves is a gift of creation only God can give.

  5. says

    I used to have one of those spinners. I loved it. But it did take up extra space in the cupboard, and there is something about feeling the green and savoring the slow.

    The overthinking. I’m working on that, too. 🙂

  6. says

    how is it that we can be living the same experience?

    ( my salad spinner is broken, and I keep forgetting to replace it, and the conversations with my stepfather are shockingly , gracefully, okay.
    good even.

    love you

  7. says

    I use my salad spinner all the time, it works wonderful.
    I like this writing, and remember the homemade tomato juice I used to make when our children were small, oh it was so good. Should I try it again?

  8. says

    I dont have a spinner. But have used towels for years.
    I love how God brings in the joy in everyday living and converstaion.
    To think a head of lettuce can bring so much.
    With God all things are a joy.

  9. says

    I loved this Laura. I felt my heart slow to the rhythm of the words and the thoughts – so gentle.
    I do have a salad spinner, and it sits alone in the back of the cabinet. I don’t like it much. I’d rather pat it dry too.
    I must learn to see these play dates. I read yours and can’t find the places in my days where I’ve taken the time to notice. It isn’t good!

  10. says

    Isn’t it wonderful to be able to call and talk with your dad about….tomato juice….or in my case….redoing the bathroom. Blessed!
    Thank you for hosting

  11. says

    Oh so so beautiful, Laura. I feel homesick just reading this, and I don’t even quite know why. Something about that conversation with your dad made my throat tighten.

    On a lighter note, I have a kickass (can I say that?) salad spinner. It is a rock star, and I spin lettuce in it nearly every day. The brand is Oxo. I just got up off the couch to see what brand it is, because it’s that good (I leave the lettuce in it in the fridge — it serves as a great crisper, too). Have I written enough about the spinner yet?

  12. says

    Sometimes, I have to just take the gift as simply a gift and stop trying to figure out scales and motivations — all that come with the over-thinking.

    Realized that my walk through my garden was a playdate, too, so I’m linking back up with you, too! Linky’s all around!

  13. says

    Oh, I love this! Stream of consciousness writing it out and playing with the lettuce while you make these lovely connections, across the room and across the miles and across the years. You just blow me away, miss Laura – so much talent.

    Love to you this fine Monday evening…

  14. says

    So glad I stopped by from Jen’s. I’m leaving with a full heart and tears in my eyes as I read. Looking forward to more reading here.

  15. says

    I love the spinners, but there is something graceful about washing lettuce and drying it by hand. Thank you for reminding me of that and your dad’s memories about the acre garden have reminded me of the garden we had growing up and how I miss that.

  16. says

    Beautiful lettuce! Probably Target or WalMart has those spinners. We have one and use it regularly.
    My chard is ready for the first cut, but after washing, I need to keep the water on it because that will be just enough for steaming.

  17. says

    This was really well done thanks…I have many times spun that salad spinner stopping every 30 seconds or so and looking at the lettuce and wondering, “Is this drying?” Thanks.

  18. says

    I have seen your Playdates with God button everywhere, but this is the first time I’ve visited. I loved everything about this and am looking forward to following your beautiful and insightful writing! Enjoy your day.

  19. says

    overthinking…working on that and He is teaching me about simple joys..and I am listening..not just with my ears but with my heart and it is changing everything.
    this is the first time I’ve visited you I think..thank you for letting me share quietly in your time with God

  20. says

    Who knows but that your Father didn’t start that “read” in the very beginning… that very beginning moments that preceded his arrival. A garden named Eden, where I’m sure lettuce and tomatoes were on rich display.

    God is most certainly alive in a garden. He was the first one to ever bend over the soil and plant a seed…

    “Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in End; and there he put the man he had formed.” (Gen. 2:8)

    Prayers for your family tree this morning…


  21. says


    Sometimes we need wet lettuce, or some other benign urgency, to free the words. Thank you reminding me.

    I read your linked “Sharing Christmas” post, too. That one will be with me awhile.

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