Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hum or Hurry?

I found myself happily humming aloud the other day as I ambled through the grocery store. It caught me by surprise. I rarely amble through any store, grocery or otherwise--seems I'm always in a rush. Did my laid-back attitude give rise to the music in my heart?

I love to sing and dance in the kitchen (much to the embarrassment of my teenagers).  I'm pretty sure God likes the music I belt out when I'm driving, and I've been known to whistle while I do housework.  But hum?  Not so often.

Humming triggers in me the memory of my Mother-in-law.  The first time I met her, she was humming as she peeled a sink full of potatoes.  She was leisurely carving potato-peel spirals with a sharp paring knife, humming away like crazy as she worked.

We exchanged some niceties, and I asked if I could help her. " Do you use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife?"

"A vegetable peeler, please."

She was the tortoise, I was the hare.  I can peel vegetables at lightning speed, owing to my year of college culinary experience. My pile of potato peels towered over her pretty spirals. Momentarily she stopped to ejaculate, "My!!"

But she was a rock.  My pace affected hers not one iota. She just kept right on leisurely carving pretty spirals and humming.

In retrospect, three elements of that encounter perfectly showcased her personality :  the potato salad--her signature dish, her slow and leisurely pace, and the happy humming which seemed as natural as breathing for her.

My grocery store humming was an epiphany of sorts:  I simply cannot hurry and hum at the same time.  From now on, I'd like to be mindful about leisurely ambling through the supermarket. Maybe I'll even hone the fine art of carving pretty potato-peel spirals with a sharp paring knife, because it would be a very nice thing if someday, I were to be remembered as the lady who hummed.