Unexpected Simple Pleasures

I am spending a few days with my parents, and surprisingly enjoyed the day which was filled with unexpected simple pleasures. I say surprisingly because my mother’s current health issues grow increasingly more serious.

She felt enough energy to go to the local supermarket in Jeffersonville, NY to do some shopping for my nephews. Once in town we popped into Samba, a new Brazilian juice bar and English language bookstore. Just riding in the car, sitting next to each other felt so good. Not knowing how many such trips we will enjoy, I felt very present and realized it was so much more than a trip to the store.

After we returned, I planned my evening raw meal. Yeah, still doing the raw thing and loving it. My dad picked fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic from his garden. I sliced some portobello mushrooms, layered the other items on top and bathed them with extra virgin olive oil. Then I covered it with a glass lid and put it out in the sun to marinate.

In the afternoon, my mother napped, so I took a ride to nearby Callicoon, NY, the town where some of the movie Transamerica was filmed. I stepped into the oddly named Whokilledkenny? Bookstore which sells some very old books–really good books. So many options! I ended up choosing Gertrude Stein Remembered, Picasso, by Gertrude Stein, and Walt Whitman–A Gay Life by Gary Schmidgall. (I also bought Dorcas Miller’s Track Finder for my dad’s upcoming birthday, but don’t tell him.)

Lee, the elderly gentleman who manned the store started chatting with me about my books as he rung up my books. I sat, and we talked some more and I soon discovered that he is an 80 year-old gay man. His partner owns the store, and Lee covered it for him for the day. What a delightful, wise and interesting man. He and his partner has been in the area together for over 25 years.

We talked about art, religion, history, queer theory, street theater and health. We talked about our art. Although quite modest, turns out he is an accomplished composer of operas and other music. I felt so enriched speaking with this man twice my age, connecting with one of my queer elders. (check out Lee Hoiby’s site and hear some of his music). How rare it is for some of us to engage in an intergenerational queer dialogue.

When I returned home, I joined my father and my Aunt Ginger for a glass of wine on the back porch as the sun set and my dad’s two new kittens (an early gift from my sister) explored around our feet. My mom woke up from a long afternoon nap then let me cook her dinner. Yeah a vegan can make steak–hey, anything for mom.

I sat and ate my perfectly marinated tomatoes and portobellos along with some fresh raw corn on the cob drizzled with Trader Joe’s new Australian virgin olive oil. My mom ate her dinner, most of it, bit by bit, which somehow made my own taste that much better.

We now sit in the living room watching the 1982 Clint Eastwood Soviet spy thriller, Firefox, and I feel grateful for this day filled unexpected simple pleasures.

This post has 7 Comments

  1. Suzanne on August 13, 2006 at 3:01 am

    Wow! What a delightful, pleasant, enjoyable story! Glad to hear you are enjoying yourself with your family! Blessings!

  2. Christine on August 13, 2006 at 8:41 am

    Really glad to read this. Love that you got to spend some good time with your Mom, that you had this wonderful chance to meet this older gay man, all of it. I’m proud of you for cooking that steak too. I don’t know if I could do it, and I eat meat!

    Of course you all are in my thoughts so much right now…

  3. Contemplative Activist on August 13, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    LOL Christine – I eat meat, and faint in butcher’s shops! No way could I have cooked that steak – so well done Peterson!

    I am glad you are enjoying this time with your family.

  4. Jimbo on August 13, 2006 at 8:51 pm

    Precious moments with your family.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. jerryt on August 14, 2006 at 3:05 am

    Peter, enjoy the times you spend with your mother and family. My family just lost our father after a two year struggle with cancer. We buried him August 1. I look back and am so happy of the time and love I spent with him. I plan on continuing to make as much time as I can for my mother, brother, sister-in-law, and baby niece and naturally my partner. There is a wonderful part of the play Our Town where the dead are speaking about how the living miss so much of the simple every day experiences of life. We the living need to take the time and the mental effort to not pass through life but to savor all of it..especially the simple daily pleasures we so often seem to miss or fail to notice.

    God be with you and your family.


  6. Tonya on August 14, 2006 at 2:30 pm


  7. Anonymous on November 15, 2006 at 2:39 pm

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