A few years ago an advertising campaign for some inexpensive wine pitched wine as a timeless gift.
“Guy gives girl flowers. Time passes. Flowers die. Guy equals dead flowers. Guy gives girl wine. Time stands still. Guy equals eternity. In case we’re wrong about this, we put flowers all over the label.”
Today I spent the day negotiating a parenting plan involving two parents with no trust for each other. They are Chinese citizens and their child is an American citizen. One parent will stay in America and raise the child. One parent will return to China. The lack of trust and the fact that only one Chinese province has joined the Hague Convention complicated our negotiations. Each parent had family from China here for court, and none of the visiting family spoke English.
It took six hours and two calls to an attorney in Bejing to devise language that each parent felt comfortable accepting, but we got it done.
When I got home, I cut tofu on my favorite cutting board. My father made it from the trunk of a fallen tree. He dried the wood and cut slabs for each of us. A small tornado had toppled the old tree in our back yard. As I cut the curd into squares, I felt movement in the cutting board. After I rinsed it, I saw that a crack has developed that goes through; soon the board will split. I stood in the kitchen holding the cutting board in my hands. I felt my father’s touch in that piece of wood. I closed my eyes and tried to remember when he gave it to me. I think I have had that cutting board since 1973.
Forty-three years. So much time. So many days.
I rinsed it and gently set it on the counter. I don’t know if it can be salvaged. I have so little of my father, other than the contours of my chin, a proclivity for writing sentimental verse, and his surname.
Night descends on me. I have one more trial this week, a wicked one. By the time Friday comes, I will be tired. I should rest. But I sit, instead, and think about time passing.
It’s evening, on the sixth day, of the thirty-sixth month, of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
Just three more days until our HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE.
I hope to see you all at Suite 100. Don’t forget your canned good or nonperishable item for the Harvesters Barrel!