Spring Dresses and Fried Egg Sandwiches
FRIED EGG SANDWICH
2 slices of bread
1 slice cheddar cheese
Yellow mustard, to taste
Coarse grain salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Toast bread slices. Spray frying pan with non-stick spray. Crack and fry the egg, salt and pepper it. The black pepper is important. When egg is almost done, lay slice of cheddar cheese on top of it (while it’s still in the frying pan) so it somewhat melts on top of the egg. When bread slices are toasted, spread yellow mustard on them. Put fried egg topped with cheese in between bread slices. (I suppose it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add a slice of tomato…yum)
When you bite into this sandwich, the egg yolk delightfully bursts and gets all over your fingers. The black pepper is in the background but undeniable. The yellow mustard gives the sandwich an earthy tang (and smells like a ballpark snack bar). The cheddar cheese lends a creaminess, and the toasted bread gives the all important “crunch”. I think this sandwich is the reason why I can’t ever eat a sandwich on un-toasted bread.
The theme and metaphor is so overdone, but I never tire of it; Spring is the beginning, or renewal, of things.
Even things we thought were dormant, or put away for good in places where we don’t look often come back because we have a need for them.
Our subconscious recognizes the seasonal call for change.
My second daughter, five-and-a-half-years-old now, has outgrown her 4T clothing. The first pants she owned that had a number plus a “T” instead of a number and “months” now look like capris and don’t snap around her midriff, which I once referred to as a baby Buddha.
She is stretching out like a rubber band and no longer has a squishy, pint-size preschool body in which my arms sink into during my “Don’t grow up too fast!” embraces.
The inches appear while sleeping, they aren’t noticeable until all the clothes that do fit her are in the dirty laundry.
Thank goodness I am an organized sentimentalist who can’t re-sell or giveaway patchwork dresses and sailor girl bathing suits.
My first daughter, born after a primary-color wearing, one hundred percent boy, got everything I walked by in a store or saw in a catalog with toile, puffy flowers, and quirky patterns in bold colors. And I’ve still got almost all of them.
When she outgrew them, I washed them in the strngest fabric softener I could find (and maybe some Dreft, for posterity), folded them with copious unused dryer sheets, and tucked them all into plastic bins,m piled high in the garage. A scrapbook of cotton memories.
I get attached to things, and unexpected things happen to me – but it all falls beautifully into place, in retrospect. I hoarded clothes my first daughter outgrew, not knowing there would soon be an unexpected third child. And that third child turned out to be another girl.
When someone says “It’s so funny how things work out,” it must be the equivalent of an angel getting their wings, giving props to the divine. Nothing in our lives is so small or insignificant as to be discounted by this philosophy. This philosophy gets me through everyday. Things in our favor are unfolding in ways we can’t possibly comprehend, and every time I put clean clothes away, into a closet graced by spring dresses from eight years ago, I see the happy accidents my life. Our lives serendipitously stitched together in cross-sections, patch-work, and pairings I couldn’t have imagined would work as well as they do. When it comes to outfits, among other things, children can make an silly or illogical combination seem right.
As Spring quickly approaches, I retrieved six plastic bins of 5T-6X clothing from the attic, clothing previously worn by my oldest daughter, and went through them, one garment at a time.
“I remember wearing that!” … “Sissy looked so cute in that dress” … “I got that on sale!” … “The good things last”
They really do.
This process of going through old clothes, remembering sweet things and also looking at my life like it was someone else’s – it was exhausting, and it was invigorating. I re-experienced all of the growing and living done in those clothes. And I jumped for joy when I uncovered forgotten favorites (and calculated the money I was saving by not purchasing a new spring wardrobe).
There were also some things I couldn’t remember no matter how hard I tried, and that regret made me retreat. What kind of mother can’t recall the origin of the purple stain on a baptismal dress? Or the outfit worn on the first day of pre-school?
I thought about it all night. I opened baby books and filled in what I could remember before my the details of my life today spilled into the gaps of what should be milestones burned into my brain for all eternity. My husband told me it was late, please put those away, honey. But I couldn’t, I was too restless. The rest of the world slept, and my creative energy, as always, was inappropriately timed.
I clicked off the lamp on my night stand and sighed. I peeked in on kids wearing handed-down pajamas. And I went to the kitchen in those wee small hours and made myself a fried egg sandwich. The scent of an egg fried in butter, gentle, welcoming sound of a toaster popping, placing a piece of cheese over the warm egg and squeezing tangy yellow mustard on top if it all was ritualistic enough to calm my fears that life, that my loved ones, that happiness was escaping too quickly. Biting into the liquid center of an egg, I find it a perfect way to live in the present moment. And get sleepy.
This sandwich is one I have been eating for more than thirty years because it always fixes me. I guess you could say it’s my culinary version of a vintage dress.
Samantha is a self-taught chef. She worked in the Catering and Special Events industry for seven years before becoming a stay at home, now a work at home, Mom.
She appeared on NBC's ivillage Live.
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