He came back home with two packets of smashed heavenliness jammed into his backpack. They were a sad and flattened spectacle - little wedges of highly processed deliciousness that had been smashed into near two-dimensionality. Growing up, getting a pack of krimpets in the lunchbox was a real treat - but getting the wrapping off without the butterscotch icing sticking to the plastic instead of the
With a combination of meditative calm and homesick impatience, I fumbled open the package. I invoked all the tricks of my youth to get the pastry out of the package without losing the best part - the butterscotch icing. I met with limited success - of three Krimpets, one came off completely icinged, the other two partially. So okay, licking the icing off of the wrapper is a treat, too. Instant homesickness though - what used to be a common (all too common, judging by my waist-size!) treat was now rare and exotic - flown specially in. And smashed.
The other thing that happened today that had me hankering for home was an innocent little thing - I was eating my lunch out on the sunny patio (it's just about the most perfect day in creation here today - bright and cheery, warm without being oppressive and a slight breeze that reminds one that one has hair, and that it is good to have it, because the breeze is riffling it in such a fashion that it is almost certainly very sexy.) - so I'm on the patio, and I hear a church in Santa Monica tolling the hour. It's just the same pitch and tempo as the church at the top of the hill on which I up I grew. (Damn that ending a sentence in a preposition thing is onerous, sometimes.) And in a flash, I'm ten years old and it's a sunny Saturday afternoon and my sisters and I are running around in the back yard, and the bells at the Baptist church ring the hour and we hear it floating over the stand of woods that is between home and that church. My mother calls us in for dinner, and there we are fed, and if ignored it's a sort of benevolent ignoring that lets us know we are safe and looked after, and presumed for the moment to just be okay. Which, in fact, we are. On Sunday mornings the bells of that church turn into a full-blown carillon, and some common hymn or another will peal out over the woods and into the window of my room where I can also just smell the honeysuckle bush that grows below.
And then I'm not ten, I'm 34, and I'm in Santa Monica on a sunny patio eating lunch - and if I'm ignored here it's not so much benevolent as just the way the world works. But it's still a beautiful sunny day and maybe there's no woods anymore, or a house to go back into for dinner or, who knows? Maybe not even a church with bells that toll the hour. But the sun is the same, and the sky just as blue.