Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Egg Lady

“Remember going out to Mrs. Bianchi’s?"
Paula laughs. “Yes! The egg lady!”
Our long distance, weekly phone calls replenish our spirits.
Together we reminisce driving with our moms out to the northern California hamlet of Woodacre, a primarily Italian community of houses, farms, a church and a general store embraced by rolling hills. We’d turn off the main road to a country lane and pull up in front of white wooden house set behind a fence. There we’d buy fresh country eggs. Ours were not big families, yet our mothers felt it was worth the effort to make the trip. It wasn’t far, but it was out in the country.
            “My mother always gave me soft boiled eggs for breakfast.” I tell Paula. “I hated that runny gelatinous slime. It would stand before me turning cold as I tried to gather up the courage to eat it.”
“Me,too! Awful! Just couldn’t get them down and would barf all over my St. Anselm’s school uniform!”
“Those early soft-boiled ruined me for eggs for life!” We howl with laughter at this yet another convergence in our childhood memories.
I haven’t changed my opinion over the years. Scrambled and egg salad I’ll accept. Forget poached, fried or eggs Benedict. I now justify my egg phobia pointing to the mass egg production process, herding thousands of hens into wire cages with no elbow room and just food and water. Only free-range go into my shopping cart.
            I can no longer picture Mrs. Bianchi, but I do remember the trip. What a treat sharing those memories with Paula, recollections only she and I, as lifelong friends, can appreciate. Our phone conversations ripple with laughter:
“Remember the Russian Dance in ballet class with those flowered headdresses and streamers we’d wear?”I ask.
“Yes! Yes!”
“Didn’t your mother have an old grey Plymouth?”
“Yeah. It was a 1939 coupe, dark grey, had running boards (remember those?) and a rumble seat.”

“Remember our buckeye apple fight with those mean kids in your neighborhood? I’d walk alone over to your house over hill and dale. No roads or subdivisions between my house and yours.”
“I know.”
“What was the name of that crazy, untrainable dog you had?”
“That’s right! Now that Easter is coming up, I think of the photo of us decked in our Easter dresses and hats sitting in our front garden.” I say.
“And the gin fizzes that our parents drank Easter morning.”
            “At your house.”
“No, it was your house!”
“Sometimes we’d go to the Hamilton House in Fairfax for Easter brunch.”
“I remember that place, right across the road from where you and I go every year for dinner.”
Our restaurant.”
“Let’s have a long distance toast on Easter.”
“Yes, let’s. Cheers.”
“Love you.”

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