I have no idea what’s going on in his delusional little mind. The only voyage I’m taking is over to Bob’s farm and I don’t think there will be a return trip for my chubby little passenger. The only heavy lifting I plan on doing is when I hand this guy back over to Dr. Gaspar, which shouldn’t be long; I can see his suburban jungle now.
I love Bob’s driveway. It’s made out of old Anchor Hocking blocks, heavy reclaimed bricks that were born sometime in the last century. Basil, mint, sage and a variety of other tiny herbs reside in the cracks between them. Every step on the way to his door releases an aroma that brings me back to my grandmother’s kitchen on Thanksgiving Day.
I don’t see Bob in the mint patch. What I do see is a wisp of smoke gasping for air behind the house. Smells like mesquite, but it could be hickory or even maybe some of that black walnut he has stacked up back there. One thing I’m sure of, he’s not trying to build a fire for warmth. It’s already 90 and the humidity is so high even Joan Rivers could get wet.
“Hi Bob! You look busy.”
“Good morning Sam. Thought I’d make soup for dinner tonight. I see you brought a radish.”
Bob’s Paleo. Not just the Paleo diet, but the whole caveman lifestyle thing. He grows most of his own food, which is actually kind of Neolithic, but I’ll give him a pass on that. He also cooks everything over an open fire in his back yard. I should have figured that out when I smelled the smoke.
“Sam, you want to grab the turtle out of that crate over there while I build this fire? On second thought, why don’t you build the fire and I’ll grab the turtle. I don’t want you to lose a hand or something.”
I’m not much of a connoisseur of turtle soup, but that sure is a large box for one turtle. I don’t think my foot locker in the army was that big.
“A crate? You have the turtle in a crate?”
“Well, I had to put him in something. The recipe calls for a 120 pound, fat, lively snapping turtle. I’m not certain as to how much he weighs, but I assure you, he’s lively.”
A 120 pound turtle?… Even if I don’t throw the radish in the pot, I think it’s more than the two of us can eat. I’ll just focus on building a fire while he does battle with the turtle. I seriously don’t care to watch him, but his recipe book is right here on this stump, maybe I’ll check it out.
“Hey Bob! When do we throw in the 4 old hens?”
“You can toss them in as soon as the water starts boiling. They should be in a sack over there somewhere. I should be done here in a minute.”
“Hey Bob! The recipe calls for a bottle Madeira. When do I throw that in?”
“You don’t. We drink that as soon as I dispatch this turtle.”
If he would have asked I would have helped him fight the turtle. Then again, someone had to bring the water up to a boil.
“Ok Sam, why don’t you pour the wine while I toss these turtle chunks into the pot.”
“How long does this thing need to cook?”
“The initial boil is 6 hours. After that we skim off the scum, add the aromatics and simmer for about another 2 hours. We should be done before dark.”
I can’t wait. I don’t think one bottle of wine is going to be enough. He does look pretty happy though, sitting there on a rock, glass of wine in one hand, some kind of a large paddle in the other, just waiting for a chance to stir his caldron. Maybe this is a good time to ask him about the radish, before I collapse from heatstroke.
“Bob, I want to talk to you about my radish.”
“Oh, thanks for bringing it Sam. The aromatics don’t go in until near the end. Here, looks like you could use some more wine. You might also want to take off that shirt; it’s starting to get a little warm here by the fire.”
“It’s not easy to explain, but… I have some sort of a connection with this radish.”
Of course he understands. He grew the radish. I should have just come right out and told him from the outset.
“Sam, every breath I exhale is inhaled by the plants. In this way…we are the same. The same sun that shines on me shines on my radish. In this way…we are the same. In this way…we are connected. In this way…never are we alone.”
“Yeah… My thoughts exactly. How long did you say it was before we toss in the aromatics?