“Mum, you better have a word to the kids about being grateful for someone making dinner, even if you don’t like it.” Monie called out to me when I came in from the garden. I called the children to me downstairs and told them Femi was coming to stay tonight and she had offered to cook us dinner. How lucky we were! They were excited. “But what if someone cooks something and you don’t really like it? Should you say you don’t like it?”, I asked. They looked at each other knowing the answer but unsure what to say, until finally agreeing that wouldn’t be nice.
“So what could you do?” I asked, they looked at each other for confirmation. “You should try it,” they agreed. “And what if you don’t like it after trying it?” I mused. After a bit of thought they had a few ideas….
You could say, ‘I’m not really hungry thank you’, or ‘Im so full, if I ate any more I might pop!’ or ‘Its delicious but I have already eaten thank-you’, or…. and the possible excuses ran off their tongues excitedly.
Femi and Ben arrived and what a delight they were. The children warmed to Femi especially and quickly trotted her out to the garden to show her the pond we had cleaned, down to the vege garden they showed the greatest enthusiasm explaining how we grew the seedlings and whose beds were whose. How they weren’t allowed to pick the peas or beans, tomatoes or strawberries yesterday or today as Femi was coming and we wanted a decent amount for dinner.
They took her by the hand and escorted her over the glasshouse step to count out the chrysalis. Sixteen in total now and still more caterpillars to turn. Femi was just as excited, exclaiming over each one in turn.
They were here to run a marathon and Femi decided she might take a quick run around the block before cooking dinner if that was alright. “Ohhh you’re gunna love it I tell her. It’s about six kms and a great mix of challenges. Some hills up and down, Through the village where I usually insist on stopping for coffee”. Not that I have ever run it mind you. I decided a long time ago that was bad for your health. There’s a girl that used to run for miles from around here. I’ve seen her all over the show over the last twenty years. Lean and fit looking with a pony tail swinging from side to side behind her. Now when I see her I shake my head. “See that? I said to Monie. That’s a good reason why you should only run if somethings chasing you.” She now has a funny hop walk thing going on in her running style. Her pony tail now swings in a haphazard lopsided way and her body is wrecked, yet she can’t stop. Her mind is pushing her past all good reason. No. I walk briskly and stop for coffee and cake. Sensible, you see. Sensible.
But I don’t tell Femi this story. I already know she runs ridiculous amounts of miles and there’s no telling people who are gripped with mad obsessions. It would be like someone telling me not to turn my compost. I might hurt my back, but see the difference is turning compost gets you something. So it makes sense. Running makes no sense at all. But each to their own and it must’ve been a walk in the park cause Femi’s back, showered and in the kitchen in the blink of an eye.
Dinner was soon on the table as Ben and Femi served up a delicious vegetarian risotto. Laced with olives and a salad on the side. “I hope you like it, Femi kept saying, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t like it. I won’t be offended” she declared. “If we don’t like it, one of the children butted in, we’ll just say ‘I’m not really hungry, thank-you'”. Oh I see Femi smiled. “Or we could say, ‘I’m so full I couldn’t eat another thing!’ Another butted in, or we might say, ‘I’m so full if I ate another thing I might pop! ‘ “Tai ended with a smile. “Oh, yes you could,” Femi agreed throwing her head back laughing hilariously. She must have wondered why they seemed so practised at politely refusing seconds!
“…and so what do you think Ben does for a job?” I asked the children when we started eating. Hmm they looked at him, studying his clothes and glasses and thinking hard. With quite a few clues we got there in the end. A statistician. It was hard to say the word let alone understand exactly what he did. He works with numbers and counts stuff. Geez. I could see they weren’t very impressed. Tried to talk it up but you know however you looked at it it seemed kind’ve boring. Not something they might aspire to I didn’t think. Haha!
I swung around to Femi. “Guess what Femi does for a job now!” The ideas were flowing thick and fast. We ended up with she ‘draws stuff’. Ahhh, the kids nodded. Got it! As they wove their way through the risotto bypassing the olives. “Well yes, kind’ve right Femi explained. I communicate, or convey messages through pictures”, she expanded. The kids looked at each other blankly. “Like that picture, she quickly pointed to a logo. I work on things a bit like that”. Okay.
Do you like your dinner? Femi enquired a little timidly. Yep, they agreed it was good. “Except for these, Tai said holding up an olive and adding it to his little stock pile. These are yuck!”