Monday, August 25, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 08/24/14: A Salon of Many Nations, Virginia Beer, Awesome Dinner, BONUS: Frost and Palestine

1.  In the summer of 1983, I taught a summer Introduction to Literature course at Whitworth College populated by students from all over the world:  Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Taiwan, and other countries I don't remember.  It was three hour evening class, as I remember, that met twice a week, and it was meeting during Ramadan and the Muslims in the class came to me and asked if we could take a break when they signaled to me that sundown had arrived so they could break their daily fast as soon as possible.  It was one of my favorite classes of students ever and we affectionately called ourselves the United Nations class.  (I just now remembered how much depth the Muslim students, and the Catholic Venezuelans, for that matter, brought to our discussion of Kafka's story, "A Hunger Artist" about a man who fasts in a cage as a public performance.)

Anyway, the Deke and I went to the Hair Cuttery at the Beacon Mall on Richmond Highway and it was like walking back into my summer of 1983 classroom at Whitworth.  I don't know what all countries the stylists and the customers were from.  Suffice it to say, not only did I love the sound of English being spoken in so many different ways and not only did I love the spectacularly different ways people were dressed, I also knew once and for all that I no longer lived in Eugene, Spokane, Cd'A, or Kellogg any longer!  And, I'll add, Ben, from Tunisia, did a great job cutting my hair, as well as the Deke's, and does beautiful work keeping Molly looking so good. 

2.  After our haircuts, the Deke and I decided to enjoy some beer at the little pub inside the Whole Foods store on Duke Street in Alexandria.  I immediately went for a pint of Devils Backbone Vienna Lager, having read about its awesomeness, and I, too, found it awesome.  The Deke drank three five oz. servings of Lost Rhino Woody Stout, and I had a very tasty five oz. glass of Hardywood's Bourbon-Aged double IPA.  It was a boozy beer, over 9% ABV, so I was grateful to be able to order just a five ouncer -- and that amount was perfect.  The Deke and I were both in a great mood after our haircuts at Hair Cuttery and our happy mood grew significantly drinking these fine Virginian beers.  I am learning a little more all the time about beers brewed around here and am enjoying them a lot.

3.  Molly sliced the rest of the hard crusted loaf of bread I bought at the Farmers' Market Saturday and buttered it and put it in the oven and it was divine and tasted awesome with the fresh, tender aspargus, mashed potatoes and steak we had for dinner. 

BONUS:  If you are still with me, during that Intro. to Lit class at Whitworth, I made a big deal out of Frost's poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"  and the line, "The woods are lovely, dark and deep."  In November, I was walking across the pine-treed campus of Whitworth College on a gorgeous foggy night and near the library I heard the voice of the Palestinian  student I'd had a few months earlier.  No hello.  No how are you.  He simply called out to me in his distinctive Palestinian voice, "The woods are lovely, dark and deep" and walked into the library.  I nearly cried with joy.

I never saw him again.

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