miss manners, she is not

It is about 10 AM and I am sitting in the cool weather at a picnic table by myself at our Uptown Farmer’s Market. Friends come and go and wave and stop by. The air is full of friendly conversation and zydeco music from a live band. I am childless for the moment – my husband is up at Suzie’s with the kids – eating a fresh tamale from the Rosa’s Mexi-Deli truck. These Mexican “roach coaches” are rare up here in our 99.9% caucasian community. It’s one of the top ten things I miss about the redneck town I grew up in which at least has a respectable latino population – because the food from these enterprises is almost always fresh, hot, delicious, and in tiny tiny servings so you can get say, five chicken tacos for five dollars, each the size of a large silver dollar and topped with veggies and a tiny wedge of lime. The tamale I’m eating is so good I am almost having tunnel vision. I reluctantly save half of it for my husband, pecking at the fragrant masa harina bread-like crust as I wait for my family to return.

We rode the bus to and from the market today. My children love the bus. At the market Ralph and I allocate part of our small pile of cash on some fresh veggies to get us through the weekend. We savor a cup of coffee in the fresh air. We flag down the bus again and arrive home at noon to the smell of fresh-baked whole wheat bread and (thanks to the early-morning efforts of my husband) a house as tidy as a pin. My Saturday is feeling great so far.

Thirty minutes later we’re in the kitchen, finishing up lunch. I’m lecturing my husband on caring for our daughter’s hair, which is long and fine and which I’ve noticed he treats roughly: “… and make sure to gently dry it after a bath. Blot, don’t rub. Treat it like old lace. It’s very fragile and we need to take care of it if we’re going to grow her hair long.” At this we both gaze fondly at our beautiful daughter, who takes that opportunity to regurgitate a slab of warm cheese onto her plate with a splat. Cheese dispensed with, her eyes vaguely focus onto the table and she promptly sticks her left index finger up her left nostril.

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