I wonder if any other of my classmates has to buy a new fence charger before our 50th reunion in 2.5 weeks. When I went out to put on fly masks this morning, we had a free range quarterhorse, and it will not do if any of our three amigos range onto N. Meadow Rd. while we’re in Pennsylvania.
I wonder a lot of things. This is kinda like a mega-blind date with 100 or so people I knew a lifetime ago. Who will have grown into really interesting adults? Who will have worked really, really hard at staying the same people they were at 17 and 18? Who’s died? Who’s better than ever? (Is that possible?) Can I have a real conversation with anyone (remember, we’ll be only 90 miles from Penn State)?
Will the guys who called me Baby Huey in 9th and 10th grades repeat it, still thinking it’s so funny? How will I handle it if they do, understanding, of course, that they can only hurt the 14- and 15-year-old in me, not the 67-year-old who’s a year younger than they are, who still has her hair, who shared a Plaza Hotel bathroom with Harrison Ford and who’s within 2 pounds of her 24 years ago wedding weight!
Like so many high schoolers — maybe most — I felt I fit in nowhere (except on a stage so I was always singing somewhere). I didn’t date; I didn’t go to a prom or any of the near-constant dances, all of which required not just a date but a boyfriend. (I am so, so happy that seems to have changed, and many, if not most, of my young friends at church went to their proms this year in flocks of friends.)
I was smart, and the ’50s and ’60s were not a time for girls/women to be bright. Boys had to do better and be taller, be the ones to talk about themselves on dates (for those who dated). I had some kind friends, male and female, and it’s for them I’m going back.
Because why? Because I’m curious. Because I want to know that our small group is happy (although I think “happy” is a meaningless construct), healthy and still interested in our world, still taking classes or lessons, still riding our bikes, in good relationships with our spouses, our children and/or grands if we have them, not complaining about our joints, still laughing, still kind. I want to be with people who share some of my same memories, people who remember me at 16. I want to be inspired and to inspire.
And if I were honest, I’d admit I’d like to see some people really miserable. Proof that karma’s a bitch and all that.
I want to re-visit my younger self, wear that ugly 1962 senior picture on my ID badge and make peace with her. Applaud her and tell her she did the best she could with what she had. Tell her I understand how very difficult it was to be her 50 years ago and if anybody calls her Baby Huey, cold-cock ‘em with my newly tanned and muscled arm.
In the meantime, nourishing that kick-ass body, I made this salad last night with leftover corn frozen on July 4 and with the last of our 2011 green beans. Corn had been cooked on the cob and beans, blanched when frozen so I did no further cooking. Both need at least a 2-minute blanching.
This recipe ran in EatingWell magazine in 1995 and The Essential EatingWell Cookbook (2004) as well. I don’t think the amount or proportion of beans and corn matters much — I used roughly half and half which is more corn than recipe calls for. But it’s just like any salad — your creation. We enjoyed it with tilapia fillets baked in cumin-, cilantro- and jalapeno-laced tortilla chips.
Green bean salad with corn, basil and black olives (see caption)
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
3 ears corn, husked, blanched and cut from cob
1/2 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped (I used scallions)
2/3 cup black olives, halved and pitted (wish I’d had)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
Hot sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste
Salt and freshly ground papper, to taste
Combine bell pepper, onion, olives, basil, oil, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic in appropriately sized bowl. Toss to mix well. Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper. Toss in corn and beans. Cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend. With proportions given, makes 6 to 8 servings.