Thursday, August 20, 2009

Everything goes better with...

Don's mother arrived from Savannah on the Greyhound bus Tuesday evening for a long visit. For years she's been saying she wants to be here when Ulysses starts kindergarten, and now here it is. His first day will be Sept. 1. Tonight we're all going to the elementary school for registration. He's already registered, but we can meet his teacher, see his room and so forth.

The bus rolled in from via Milwaukee around 7:30 and we stopped at the China Wok on our way home to pick up our traditional Chinese feast, as we do every time she comes to visit. This time Ulysses seemed to know what Chinese food was, or at least he crowed about it and was thrilled when Don came out of the strip mall storefront laden with a heavy bag. We had been strolling along the shrubbery-lined walkways with Don's mother, who U calls "Ama," trying to get that rubbery road trip feeling out of her legs. "Chinese food!" he called. "You got the Chinese food!"

Back home we ate what seemed vats of egg foo yung with gravy, won ton soup, pork fried rice, lo mein with all sorts of seafood and meat -- it's the Wok's house special -- beef with broccoli. We each got an egg roll, too. That was Ulysses's pick.

He had his on a plate with a plenty of duck sauce and Annie's natural ketchup. Round and round went the end of the egg roll in the custom sauce between every bite. The orange and red swirl had to be replenished once or twice over the course of the egg roll. At the end of the meal, when we lifted the plate there was a ring of crunchy bits in red sauce that had built up around it over the course of the meal, left neatly behind like a reverse stencil of some kind.

When Ama got in the fold-down futon couch/bed in the living room for the night, Ulysses jumped in with her, smiling happily. "Read me a story!" he said. "Read me the scary book!" (Bears in the Night by the Stan and Jan Berenstain.)

"I'm too tired to read a book to you," said Ama. "I'll tell you a story. A story about when I was a little girl."

Ulysses's eyes shone in anticipation.

"Once upon a time there was a little girl and her two brothers. They went walking in the woods and they found some blackberry bushes. They were the juiciest, sweetest, darkest blackberries ever."

Ulysses was fairly bouncing with joy.

"They picked and picked and picked the blackberries and then they took them home. Their mother brought out some cream...."

Ulysses burst out, "...and then they put it all in a bowl with ketchup!"


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