Thursday, April 14, 2011
Jack started Little League baseball recently -- his first go at an organized sport. (I know, I know, I'm un-American, keeping my kid off the field of rec-league glory until the hoary old age of eight years). Jack is adapting beautifully to Life After Little League -- there's talk of making him pitcher, kid's got a natural arm on him -- but me, not so much. We're three practices into the season and we've been late to every single one. Shoot, you may as well also count us late for the one they canceled due to rain, because I'm sure we would've been the last ones there that night too...
I don't especially care if we're a few minutes late, but Jack does. So tonight I was determined to get us to the park on time, for once. We were, of course, fantastically and record-breakingly late. BUT this time, however, I have a bona-fide gold-plated excuse for our tardiness: First Asparagus.
Seriously, I was just going to stop by our favorite farm stand...pick up a couple bunches of asparagus that were waiting there for me...cook it up later, after practice was over. I swear I didn't mean to splay out those lovely green spears on a tray, roll them around in a little extra-virgin olive oil, coarse salt and pepper. They just, um, fell into that 450 degree oven all on their own.
OK, OK, I confess: I did it. I cooked that asparagus BEFORE practice, knowing that it would take half an hour when we had to leave the house in 15 minutes, 20 max, to be on time for baseball. But I did it for the best of reasons: because my two little boys begged me to. How could any mama say no to her children's pleas for vegetables?
I was astonished at their excitement over First Asparagus, at how badly they wanted to eat it. Cole loitered impatiently in the kitchen, asking every few minutes if the asparagus was done YET. And when it came out of the oven the three of us clustered around the pan, plucking up spears with gingery fingertips, burning ourselves, dropping them, doing it again and again until finally they were just barely cooled enough to cram into our eagerly awaiting mouths.
Yes, we were late for baseball. Half an hour, actually. So sue me. We also ate every last fat, luscious spear of asparagus and walked in heads held high, smiles gleaming with olive oil and satisfaction.
A note on the asparagus: last year's First Aparagus was March 30th. It's been chilly and wet this spring and this season is rolling along a solid two weeks behind last year's. I got tired of fruitless drives past the farm stand, which since we moved is no longer along any of my daily routes. So, this year I got smart: I started emailing the farmer. He promised to let me know as soon as he put asparagus out for sale. He even gave me daily asparagus status reports ("Only 4-6 inches tall today, we need a couple days of sun before they'll be ready -- maybe Thursday?").
And, bless his heart, he did email as soon as he put out his first three bunches. We got there within the hour, and bought all three. O happy day, that hath asparagus in it.