Resolutely, Fia spreads a thick dusting of flour over the table and watches as the white cloud settles. Next, Fia takes the soft, warm, plump dough out of the bowl and slaps it heartily on the table. The deep scent of garlic, basil and oregano wafts up to her nose.
4 beady eyes watch Fia intently.
Suddenly, without warning, two bronzed hands belonging to one pair of eyes reaches out and grabs a handful of flour, blowing it wildly at the other pair of eyes. Before mother’s kitchen erupts into a warzone, Fia, the official peacemaker of the century, steps in with two long arms and one disapproving paragraph of correction and exhortation.
In other words, I tell them to stop.
Outside, the skies are gray and dusty. There is a slight rise in the temperature, (34 degrees) of which I am thankful. This means the pairs of beady eyes (along with the rest of their person) can be sent outside to run off energy without turning into two icicles.
In other words, today is ‘Fia’s Daylong Adventure With Her Little Brothers’. In order to make it a successful and entertaining adventure, one must always have bread dough and music.
Little brother takes a glob of the sticky, basil-ed dough and begins spinning it furiously. It will (hopefully) turn into a pretzel one day, after he has successfully drowned it in flour. Little brothers rattle on about what they will make, how hard it is to wait for their Amazon package which will hold their treasured new lego kit, and what we are having for lunch.
Everything is going famously until little brother shrieks that his brother bit into the piece of dough. “What?!” Says little brother, nonchalantly. “It tastes so good”.
Fia tells him that raw dough is not good for the digestive tract. She tells him of parasites and his eyes bulge. Fia is satisfied with her speech, but when she turns around, he is biting into it again, with his mischievous smile.
In other words, so much for sophisticated speeches.
Deciding on another course of action, Fia starts thumbing through Spotify and asks little brothers what they want to listen to. “What’s that song about turnip greens?” asks little brother quizzically He starts rattling off some of the words, and Fia nods, understanding.
With “Turnip Greens” in the background, 6 hands start spinning and twisting and forming. In her mind’s eye, Fia can see fat pretzels and corn chowder laid out for supper. She hopes it is as good as it seems to be right now in her mind’s eye.
“…..way up yonder past the caution light there’s a little country store with an old Coke sign/ you gotta stop in and ask Miss Bell for some of her sweet tea….”
Twist. Turn. Spin. 4 beady eyes, watching each other intently. Watching me intently.
“……don’t know why, but somethin felt right when she stopped in and asked Miss Bell for some of her sweet tea/ Mama gave her a big ol’ glass and sent her right back here to me….”
Twist. Turn. Spin. 4 beady eyes. Flour clouds puffing. Old, oiled blue pans filling up with fat pretzel shapes.
“…….Thank God for good directions…and turnip greeeeeens!!” We all sing at the end, finishing the sentence.
The pretzel pans are filled up. Our hands (and faces and clothes) are filled with flour.
In other words, it’s time to go outside and leave Fia to clean up the mess.
Sometimes, it’s easier to do things by yourself. But then again, wouldn’t you miss the flour fights, and singing about turnip greens?