One hour, he’d promised. That was the maximum amount of time that we were to spend at my husband’s client’s pig roast. My husband received many such thanks from clients who didn’t have means to pay. We’d received homemade cookies (which smelled oddly like cigarette smoke), freshly baked bread, and even two large grocery bags filled with Hungarian wax peppers. Such offerings were sweet, but it was the weekend, and we had lots of work to do at home. The children were grumbling already.
The sunny Pennsylvania country roads were dotted with blossoming crabapples. My husband’s client, Rusty, rushed up to the door to meet us. He was chewing on a piece of grass. I watched the children exchange a skeptical glance. Rusty was delighted we could come, and wouldn’t we have a drink, and would the kids like to see a real pig roasting? They might even get a bite of the cracklings.
Over Rusty’s shoulder, I could see his two-year old licking a red lollipop and plunging it into a glass pitcher of sangria and licking it again, before being caught by the hand. It tickled my funny bone, and my nerves began to shake loose. Beyond a table loaded with roasted corn, fresh berries, whipped butter and biscuits, men took turns ziplining over and through a small pond on the property. Exhilarating!
I drank moonshine, flavored like a cinnamon bun. It was so different from my light and predictable pinot grigios. It was sweet and fiery and had a more pronounced effect. I watched the sun make halos and glint, playing games with water and glass. The world was easy now.
I watched the sky turn from blue to orange and crimson. It was beautiful. When stars appeared, we were on our way home, with new pet salamanders, jelly jars of fireflies, a bottle of dandelion wine and a plastic freezer bag full of young washed dandelion greens, for salad. I marveled at my own small-mindedness: why had I seen weeds as what was clearly bounty?