I woke up this morning with the realization that life will always get more complicated. And when you love someone who is going through a painful situation, you’re going to carry the pain, as well. (The healthy answer to this weight is to go running. The other answer involves a close friend or two, a plate full of french fries, chicken fingers and a bottle — or two — of wine.) I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night with my mind racing about the things that do not coincide well with restful slumber. Eventually, I find myself thinking of the children I know, and wishing for a simpler life. Each day, they learn something new, something exciting. Their vocabularies gain words like truck, kitty, pumpkin, flower and love, and are delightfully absent of words like infidelity, lawyer, anxiety, economy and cancer.
The simplicity of childhood can exist in adulthood, I believe, but it takes an eye and one of those “ohm” moments that I suppose I’d find if I were a runner. I captured one of those moments in the picture above, a mug full of crayons at a crowded diner in Pataskala last Sunday. A group of us (with children in tow) stopped at Nutcracker Family Restaurant after picking pumpkins (or, rather, searching for caterpillars) at the nearby Lynd’s Fruit Farm. The place was loud, and every wall was filled to the brim with someone’s grandmother’s nutcracker collection. Everything inside the place was vying for attention, not unlike life. But to the two little girls (and maybe a few of us adults), for the tiniest moment, the most exciting part of the place was that mug and its assortment of often-used dulled down crayons.
As this is supposed to be a blog of culinary sorts, I’ll say this: there’s no doubt that the most important parts of life happen at the table. Sometimes, though, it has nothing to do with food.