Wednesday, April 25, 2007

If you'll be my Dixie chicken
I'll be your Tenessee lamb.
And we can walk together
down in Dixieland...
--Little Feat "Dixie Chicken"

The site of beer can chicken never fails to crack me up. I just expect the little guy to break into soft shoe or something. A bit o' Gregory Hines.

This was delicious. It's the only recipe that comes close to matching the rotisserie chicken I grew up eating from Alexander's Food Market in my hometown. Fabulous! To me it tastes like Sunday after church. All my vegetarian and vegan friends can skip the next phrase, but the Short People beg for the skin. They love it!

Today was a special day for the Short People. Not for the beer can chicken, but because we attended kindergarten registration.

I feel I'm expected to crumple with unbearable sadness, but I felt...excited! Some of my friends grieve kindergarten enrollment like a death, but I am thrilled for India. My firstborn Short Person is setting out on the journey to become her own woman. That is my (probably horrifying, but I'll admit it) take on kindergarten.

I have always known I was not destined to me a "baby mother"; one of the patient, kind women who gladly sacrifice their own needs (sleep, relationship with spouse, basic hygeine, sleep, own interests, awareness of current events, sleep ) to care for tiny, utterly dependent beings. Professionally much of my counseling has been with adolescents and I know that is where I hit my stride. I look forward to watching my girls become strong, independent Tall People one day.

So yesterday we began the goodbye process by posing for the annual group photo at Belle Croft preschool. The photographer kept suspiciously eyeing my camera as if I was trying to cop a free shot, so I was only able to capture the staging of what seemed like 4,000 hyperactive puppies. The patience and fortitude of the teachers and photographer were award-winning, let me tell you. Can't wait to see the finished product...yes, Allan Ruelle, I will pay for it!

I love the Short People's future school as much as I have loved Belle Croft. Pungoteague Elementary ia very ethnically diverse (unlike Belle Croft, as you can see), very socioeconomically diverse. It's small and homey. Everyone greeted me with a smile, a hand-shake, an introduction. Just what Tracy and I want for our girls. We both attended a relatively poorly-funded school system with a somewhat diverse population. We did not receive a stellar education, but we did walk out of our school system with the immesurably important skill of understanding how to get along with people who are different from ourselves. To us, this gift is greater than any textbook-gained knowledge. We went on to a university (JMU - Go Dukes! ) that provided us all the education we could ask for. We both hold Master's Degrees (or Tracy will in a couple of weeks) and are versed in many subjects, but without that social foundation (and social conscience)we are nothing.

Enough soapbox...suffice it to say that I am not weeping about sending India to kindergarten in the fall. Two years from now when it is Katie's turn...who can say? I might be a crumbling wreck or I may just dance in the streets. I have always worshipped at the altar of Independence, and today was India's first glimpse at the chapel. Hooray for her!


Delane said...

Three things, first congratulations to Tracy.
Second, Pungoteague Elementary sounds like the made-up name of a school in a children's book or movie.
Third, the first thing I thought of when I saw the photo, before I read further down, was the lack of diversity. Only because the preschool Jackson went to and Ben attends now is the same way. A friend of mine calls them the Stepford children. I honestly hadn't noticed until Jackson's first end of year program, when all the kids were lined up. There they were, a huge crowed of kids with the exact same hair color and skin complexion. No brown skin, no black hair, not even any blonds or redheads! But then, luckily, just like in your case, Jackson went to kindergarten in a school system with a great amount of diversity and we are very happy about that. His school photos now are much more interesting and fun.

Auntie said...

YUM YUM YUM!!!Alexander’s Chicken, I dream about that stuff. You could smell it throughout the whole store. I miss that so much!! No rotisserie chicken can ever compare to good ol' Alexander’s. And yes, your chicken does look like it should have a top hat, cane and tap shoes on. Or like that chicken in the Peter Gabriel video, maybe it would even shimmy.

TheArthurs said...

Okay, independence and exposure to diversity aside, you've got to admit that a huge part of the appeal of having the kids in school is the time you'll have to YOURSELF! Yeah, I want Joe and Gus to get good educations and grow up to be smart and strong and blah, blah, blah, but girl, right now I'm most excited about the two days a week next fall that I will enjoy quietly, busily, blissfully ALONE!
We had beer can chicken on Sunday. Pat's mom gave us a little stand she found that holds the beer can and steadies the old girl (meaning the chicken, not Pat's mom) so she doesn't tip so easily when transferring on and off the grill. The best part is that at the bottom are three big old metal chicken-feet. I'll have to e-mail you a picture of it.
Oh, and the best way to use any leftovers? Mary's chicken salad recipe with the white beans, tomatoes, basil, and red onion. Just made it for lunch today and YUM!
Enjoy your weekend with Brookie!

The Turmanators said...

The mental picture of Pat's Mom resting precariously on a grill top is more than I could withstand!

ALONE is great!

I have a new great leftover chicken recipe with rice, spinach, and pecans...weird, yet delicious. Not as good as the basil, white beans thing but still a great chicken leftover staple. Will forward to you and to the Hollandsworths. Hope all the boys are behaving!

TheArthurs said...

The recipe sounds awesome - do send!
Talked to Pat just as they were arriving at the campground. They were sober and well-behaved at that point, but who knows what's happened in the interim.
Being a nerd tonight and watching the Democratic debate like it's the finale of some reality show.
And, might I just say, the Belle Croft photo made me more than a little sad, thinking that in an alternate universe Joe would be there with all of his Eastern Shore buddies getting ready to head off to Pungoteague next fall. Happy as hell to be here, but wishing we were there as well...

Deana said...

I had forgotten about how good that Alexander's chicken was. The beer chicken picture cracks me looks like it is going dancing. I'd love to try to make one. I have heard they are very very tasty!

I agree about being able to mix well with others from all walks of life being more important. Martin still wishes his parents had left him in Patrick County......Somehow I think he turned out better for not finishing at Patrick. Career wise anyway. He thinks prep schools take all the emotion from you at such a young age. They learn to wear a mask early on and they always seem to have them on in public. They are so good at it you would never know.

PS- I love "Dixie Chicken"!

Deana said...

Oh and I forgot to congratulate India!

Karen said...

So cool! I'm just like you. I was a full-time working mom when my kids were tiny. I think I would have gone insane if I had stayed home then. Now they're teens and our nest is practically empty and I'm home and loving it. Still, I miss those days when they really needed me and expressed that with hugs and such. Good luck with the changes in your life.

Michele sent me today. Hope you're having a great day!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Whoa! Someone who views kindergarten the way I do! I signed #2 up in February; it's so utterly exciting to think of the experiences she's going to have next fall. The bus. The other kids. The teachers (who are fabulous).

Your preschool class is HUGE!

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