When Mr. Frank and I were on our honeymoon in Key West we went out on the ocean on wave runners. Super fun. We were part of a group touring the island and we had a couple of young tour guides leading the way. Because there was a line of inexperienced riders, the guide taught us two signals to use when we were out on the water. One was the signal for distress (he really didn’t have to teach us this one, it’s instinctual across cultures): Hands up, waving the arms back and forth. The second one was the signal to show that everything is okay. We were told not to do a small gesture like a thumbs up or making a circle with the thumb and forefinger, these gestures aren’t large enough to be seen across the ocean. The signal to use for “I’m okay” is making a fist and putting it on top of your head. The guide told us that whenever we saw him doing this, we were to respond back in kind. A call and response. “Are you okay?” Fist on head, elbow out. “I’m okay!” Fist on head, like a mirror image.
My first attempt at gardening was when I was about nine-years-old. (Correct me if I’m wrong, Mom.) Insprired by my grandfather, I remember planting corn and tomatoes but what grew was mostly weeds. And boy, were they hearty! I believe we did harvest a few vegetables that year, but I never again put my hand to the plow. However, a husband changes everything.
Mr. Frank had been planning our garden from the moment we moved into our home on Frank Corner. He knew right where he wanted it, close to the property line on the far side of the creek. Among our many trees, it’s the spot that gets full morning sun, he explained. We talked of beans and peas, carrots and zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers all winter long. Many times he discussed about the rototiller he would use, how the children would need to weed and water the plot, snapping beans and canning. And I, all adoring eyes, would hang on his every word and hope that I could muster up the proper enthusiasm when the time came.
Last month we had our traditional Taco Tuesday. We tend to do this twice a month and it’s always a cause for great excitement at the Frank Corner Café. In a not-so-uncommon lapse of judgement after our meal, my teenage son commented on how he didn’t think my effort in putting the meal together was that big of a deal. After all, he had made tacos in his eighth-grade home economics course at school, it’s really not that hard. Now, every primary cook in every household in America knows that making tacos really is not that hard. But there was something in the way he said it, something that smacked of ingratitude in his remark. So, I told him that the next time we had tacos, he could make them.
I put tacos on the menu for this Tuesday, but a way too long baseball game meant that by the time we got home, I had to whip up some Hamburger Helper (that’s right, we’re Hamburger Helper people) so everyone could eat before getting to bed late. Wednesday was more baseball and another late night. So, Taco Tuesday was moved to Thursday, and even though my son worked all day at his part-time job, I told him that before baseball practice, he needed to get tacos on the table. Knowing I was serious, he went right to it.