24 March 2010


Whew. What a day. It all began with last night's late stint in the Hatch, finishing up a couple of artworks for a Visual Arts Faculty group exhibit that opens this Friday. It continued with a morning drive out to the high school to hang said works of art. I was there for a matter of mere moments, only used two nails. Got to see one of my favorite high schoolers, a hilarious kid named Matt. He said "Oh is this some more of that stupid art stuff? I like it." I know it sounds like something a stupid high schooler would say, but it's all in this kid's delivery. He is in a constant state of awkward smirkdom which makes him altogether amusing to me. The day really began when I arrived (decently late) at school and was faced with five classes in a row, all involving paint of different sorts. Tempera, acrylic, watercolor. With young children wearing white shirts. This "All Paint, All the Time!!" thing almost never happens -- I usually have some clay in the mix or oil pastels so that I don't spend each in-between moment washing brushes. I must have been off my planning rocker. Nevertheless, it was a hairy mess of a day but still managed to be a good one, somehow. Must be all this sunshine. And the red shoes.

One of my favorite moments of this tempestuous day, however, involved a boy named William. This boy...well gosh. What can I say? He's a favorite. I know, I know, we're not supposed to have those, but this little chap is just charming. Tow-headed, a dear face bearing the cutest nose this side of the Mason-Dixon line, as cordial and clever as any third grader has a right to be, and possessing quite an alarming command of the English lexicon, this William. His kindness to others and his smartly mild manner make him all the more lovely. And he smiles easily -- a trait I find irresistible. On top of all of that, he is an authority on Greek mythology. I ran into him at Whole Foods the other day where he was daintily plowing through both a plate of fish and chips and a fresh copy of The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Perilous Journey (which bore a few oily fingerprints on its cover). I took a seat next to him at the bar. "Hi there, William." "Well hello, Miss Coates!" as he straightened and a surprised smile spread across his face. We sat together awhile and I asked him about his reading material. I listened as he explained each character of the book and that this one guy is always depicted with a telescope and another girl always has a rope with a bucket. This William, he is a details-oriented sort of fellow.

As he munched on his chips he told me about his family's recent trip to San Diego. We spoke of piano lessons and how we are alike in the fact that we don't like to have to practice to be good at something -- we just like to be good at stuff right away. We laughed about that a little bit, because we're both smart enough to know that that's absurd. In our musings and ramblings, we somehow stumbled onto the subject of cooking. He told me, quite enthusiastically, about his personal specialty. Dutch Baby. His dad told him he should bring me the recipe and today, when he had finished the background for his Aboriginal dot painting and was all tidy and lined up at the door, he used his spare moment to write down the recipe....which he has committed to memory. He even has a unique way he eats this large, pancake-like delicacy. He makes two cuts halfway into the circle, extracts a wedge, sprinkles it with lemon juice and sugar, rolls it up, devours and savors it. Then he turns the pan clockwise (I hope I'm getting that right -- to misrepresent his process, if it is indeed counter-clockwise, would be an egregious offense), and cuts another wedge shape, and so on and so forth.

I haven't made the recipe yet myself, but I intend to. (Note the particular directive of the "iron pan" -- he's been taught well.) When it comes out of the oven, I will cut wedges, spritz the lemon and sling the sugar, turn the pan in a clockwise motion and enjoy it the way William does. It won't even take very much practice.