"I hope ya feel as good as ya look to your gal Sal" Gail and I smile at each other, because we do feel good! It's around 4:30 pm on a wintery afternoon about 1958, and Gail and I are watching The Sally Starr Show with our Patty PlayPal dolls. OUR GAL SAL is wearing a shirt with sparkles and spangles and stars, and a white cowboy hat. I know that this particular day I recall was in winter because in the summer we were not allowed to sit inside watching tv. We would be outside swinging on the swings singing Yippee Aye A Cay AYE! Yippe Eye OH! in our cowboy hats and spangly shirts, firing our cap guns into the air to add emphasis. I love Sally Starr so much that I am pleased that my initials (S.A.L.) get me half way to being almost named the same, and I love her blonde hair. (I consider remaining blonde into my mid fifties as one of my highest achievements.)
At 5:00pm, Daddy will come home, pretend that my blond Patty is me, kiss her and make a fuss. Sally will say "May the Good Lord be blessing you and your Family, Bye for now!" tv will go off, I will walk Gail and her Patty half way home, come and sit down to eat with my sisters and my parents. Afterward, we girls will do the dishes - singing all the while so we don't fight - and Mum and Daddy will walk the dog around the block. Then off to bath, bed and dreaming of riding the plains on my horse and and saving towns from bad guys in black hats.
I remember heroic dream hangovers for days, after one of these western themed sagas. A palpable threat, like say a horde of angry rustlers (I had a very vague idea what these were, from Bonanza) would be forming on the horizon (again, something I had only seen on TV because Springfield, PA's horizons were the roofline of the house next door) and I would do *SOMETHING HEROIC* (insert unexplained action) and the horde would disperse, the townsfolk would gather to cheer, there would be a parade, and I would get some kind of brain chemical infusion from this head trip that induced feelings of good will and confidence in the waking world of school and play and home.
These days my dreams have a Sisyphean theme: doing endless paperwork, car ignitions that just click and click but won't turn over, a salad making competition where I have to make a salad 'three ways' - and the only one I make is frisee with roasted walnuts and goat cheese. Why I have a dream about a salad I have never eaten or heard of is beyond me. I dare Freudian analyzers to sexify that.
So, at 4:30 am, I am looking up FRISEE on google and wondering why my family dislikes me.
Turns out, frisee is a kind of endive, and endive is a bitter salad green related to the daisy family. Now, this is interesting because I have often been accused of being a little over cheerful, sort of Daisy like. Gerbera daisies frighten me with their aggressive cheerfulness: this is how I must appear to some people - gigantic technicolor head on a tiny body inadequate to hold it up, supported by some kind of device like a clear plastic straw or wire. I love the regular shasta daisy with white petals and yellow center. I aspire to their simplicity and geometry. And of course, I always count the petals ahead of time, so I know where to start, to guarantee the results I crave while plucking off "he loves you, he loves you not." Yes, I want to know, as long as I know ahead of time and can prepare.
I am not sure that the walnuts and the goat cheese are important at all, except that I can't imagine having a salad with less than three ingredients. And then, at 5:00 am I finally get around to thinking what this would actually taste like, the bitter daisy greens, the acrid walnuts and the tangy goat cheese. Oh.
So, this harsh, acerbic mix is the only one I make, according to my dream. Sally Starr, I hope I am feeling as good as I look to you, but probably not. When did the Star-Spangled, gun toting Rodeo Girl become an acrimonious one trick pony? Those were my salad days, and I made of them what I could, but as far as I know, the competition is not over and I still have two salads left to make.
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2 years ago