I had prunes for breakfast that morning. I love them. I know most people associate prunes with a dietary colon cleanse, but I love them in every way that includes what they do for you hours after they’re consumed. I had been up since early that morning to visit sweet Sonya and her new baby, so I decided a small nap was necessary before we headed out to the park for what billboards plastered in subway stations across Brooklyn promised would be the first of many awesome music and food festivals in years to come. I laid down on the couch, and I waited for Brandon to arrive. Once he did, we discussed eating a snack, but thought it would be better to venture into the food festival on the verge of starvation so the treats we found would taste all the more better.
Along the way I pressed Brandon about the day he’d had, and when he didn’t produce anything other than “It was fine” I offered up the wedding as a subject. That subject failed to spark much interest. It isn’t that he doesn’t care—it’s that he doesn’t care. (Alot of thought went into where place those italics, and I’m confident I made the right choice.) And I’ve learned to be ok with that. When we first got engaged I printed out a long checklist that had over 300 tasks for me to complete. His portion, though, only had 3, one of which was to simply show up on time. A few months ago I leaned on the kitchen counter, and looked out at a dark sky while I waited for him to grow excited over the progress I had made. I asked him if there was anything he had to have, or felt would make the day/night a more special affair. He paused. “What would seal the deal? What would make you feel good that day?” I asked him. “Shrimp,” he answered. That was his answer. His only request—is shrimp. So fine, we’re having shrimp.
We were horrified, and I use that term accurately, at how long the lines in the park were. It was a poorly organized, albeit enjoyable festival that forced people like us who were running on fumes to wait in ridiculously long lines for things like $12.00 hot dogs (with tater tots, to be fair) and $5.00 lemonades (that were delicious, again, in fairness). Brandon soldiered through the lines with tact and courage that few show in fresh summer heat, looking good while he did it too. When we finally got our hands on hot dogs, he looked up into the sky and said, “I wish…I wish I had barbecue sauce”. Some women are going to need to discern intimate, deep secrets about their men. And some are going to rely on the Holy Spirit help their men reach their highest potential. I think—I firmly believe with all my heart and soul and mind—that I can do both of those things by always carrying barbecue sauce around with me. And shrimp.
On Saturday we were joined by Vlad, V-Diddy as I prefer to call him, and his girlfriend Arialle. They were better organized than we were that Sunday, and by organized I mean they had an official looking picnic mat that they brought to sit on as compared to the bed sheet that I dug out of my linen closet. The same linen closet that Stephen Tyler Davis peed in a few years ago. Though it’s been cleaned many times, I think about that every time I unload clean towels from my laundry bag onto the shelves. But I digress. The ‘How and Why My Linen Closet Had To Be Cleaned a Good 7 Times’ story is for another time.
Our foursome sat in the sun in a sea of people and talked about important things, not so important things, and things we saw in front of and around us. It’s one of the reasons why I like hanging out with them so much. There’s an ease to hanging out and conversing with them that I appreciate. Once the planning and agreeing on the activity is done, the rest is so unplanned and feels like an old friendship rather than the new one that it is in reality. Like us, they’re Christians devoted to the Word, engrossed in Church life, and aware that they represent Christ on and off the clock. And like us—and I hope I’m not doing them a disservice by making this comparison—they’re confident in those truths, but don’t spend all of their time talking about it. We discussed the power of God’s grace for at least thirty minutes…and then we moved on to sports, to pop music, to stupid television shows that are nothing but a guilty pleasure. And I want you, if you’re that devoted Christian reading this, to know that it’s ok to have lighthearted moments. At the risk of standing on a soap box before I’m fully developed—and at the risk of the soap box breaking beneath me because I’ve gained four, ok six pounds from eating everything in sight, including the food festival treats—I’m encouraging you to relax, and hang out with friends and enjoy the abundant life we were meant to enjoy. Not to abuse the privilege, but to enjoy copious amounts of prayer and fellowship with God—a daily entrée the spirit needs—and then to get in some good side dishes called ‘life’.
The show we saw with The Roots on Saturday was great, so it’s hard to decide if I liked that or Hall&Oates on Sunday more. I thought that I was a member of a small group of people who weren’t old enough to appreciate Hall&Oates in the 80’s, but enjoy jamming to their songs as an adult living in the millennium teens. Turns out that group is big. Really big. Big enough to fill a section of Prospect Park that day. Everyone clapped on the beat to “Private Eye” and of course “Maneater” got most of the women out of the grass, and onto their feet. It was the perfect way to spend a weekend that I initially dragged my feet on participating in.
I returned home with three goals. One: to find more cheap flip flops from Old Navy and buy all of them, because no matter how much I hate the thought of going into that store, no flip flops that are soft and can withstand a music festival can be ignored. Two: to make time for a big helping of that same prayer/fellowship I mentioned above, to consume a big entrée of spiritual goodness.
And lastly, to have some shrimp and barbecue with it as often as I can.
Written to: Hall and Oates “Private Eyes”;