As the wife of a man who didn’t like it when I ventured far from home, Tupperware parties were my entire social life. Although I never hosted one, I could always be counted on by my neighbors to ooh and aah over a jade green colander, 8-cup mix-and-store pitcher or some other kitchen necessity, and to compliment the delicious snacks they served in their lovely homes.
The evenings were carefully scripted. First there was a warm greeting from the hostess. Then she would introduce a party coordinator from the Tupperware company who would tell us how Earl Tupper, after being inspired by the metal lids of paint cans, had introduced the world’s first airtight food storage bowl in 1949, a revolutionary invention which had made possible the wide variety of polyethylene plastic storage containers displayed in front of her.
She would end her monologue with a demonstration of the patented “burping seal” feature that made Tupperware superior to its competitors and well worth its higher cost. We would then each be given a bowl and asked to practice the proper technique for lifting one corner of the top to let out some air before pushing down in the center to achieve an airtight seal. Thus a room full of young mothers, all expert baby burpers, were taught how to expel excess gas from plastic containers.
I got to the point were I could repeat the instructions by heart.
I didn’t start boogie boarding until my mid-60s. I think having grandchildren visit was what got me to try it, but after a few rides on good breakers I no longer needed the kids as an excuse. Now I’m a great grandmother and I'm as good at it as they are.
I also embarrass them by letting out a yell as I ride all the way in to shore.
My "rebel yell" started spontaneously. I simply couldn’t keep myself from vocalizing my delight even if it attracted the attention of waders, and if an onlooker happened to comment I would tell them it was such a thrill to be able to do this at 71 that keeping quiet wasn’t an option.
As my flight taxied toward takeoff at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, the Captain announced over the loudspeaker that we’d gotten lucky and had been cleared to go sooner than expected after a weather delay. For a nervous flier like me, it was reassuring to hear that conditions in Boston weren’t bad. It was just that when heavy storms were forecast for the East Coast, Air Traffic Control closely monitored flights to all destinations in the region.
The voice, too, was comforting, with just the right mix of self-confidence and authority. In a conversational, upbeat tone, it promised a “straight shot,” a two-hour flight, and a smooth landing.
And, it was a woman’s.
I’ve traveled enough in the South to know it’s a different culture where my favorite beverage, tea, is concerned.
When I went to Georgia to meet my husband’s relatives for the first time, his Uncle had a good laugh when I made a face at the sweetened iced tea the waitress brought. He explained that in the South if you asked for tea that’s how it came. “It’s all we drink,” he said.
Sure enough he was right. In the Southern food pyramid, sweet tea is right at the top, with barbecue, collards and banana pudding underneath, so on future trips I knew enough to accept the status quo, but specify “unsweetened” when ordering iced tea, even if doing so got a strange look.
What I did not expect when I vacationed in the South Carolina Low Country was that green tea, my breakfast and late afternoon beverage of choice, would not be available. I made do, even though I would have enjoyed my grits and eggs and sweet potato pancakes a lot more if they came with a hot cup of Jasmine Pearl or Japanese Sencha or even Tao Zen.
New Englanders will long remember the winter of 2015. The 110 inches of snowfall set a new record in Boston and brought public transportation to a standstill. Snowfall followed snowfall, with no melting in between, and by be early March the snow banks at the end of my driveway were piled head high.
Going the distance from the garage to the road in a Prius was like competing in a luge event at the Olympics. Getting out of our driveway required perfect, mid-track alignment and the courage to let it rip over the frozen hump at the end left by the snowplows.
On a return trip from stocking up on groceries before the next storm. I miscalculated my approach and wedged the right side of the car into the nature-made New Jersey barrier. I got a shovel and started to chip away. As I watched each dip yield barely enough ice to fill a glass I knew my efforts were futile, but didn't know what else to do.