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