For many, “fast food” evokes images of golden French fries, drive-thru windows, and a frighteningly deranged clown. Though I’m editorializing on that last one; this gal is not a fan of clowns. All that makeup? Creepy. You never know what they’re thinking. But I digress.
But for a farmer’s wife, “fast food” can mean things entirely different.
Fast food means picking up a sub sandwich, driving to the field that the Dairy Man is planting, parking on the side of the road with my flashers on, and waiting until he finishes his row and meets me at the car. From that point on, the Dairy Man has approximately five minutes to stuff his face, ask me about my day, and generally just make sure I feel loved and remembered before he climbs back into the tractor.
Fast food means thrusting a sandwich and a handful of baby carrots to the Dairy Man over the threshold of our back door (so he doesn’t have to take off his manure-spattered boots) and waving as he runs back to the tractor. The tractor, by the way, is parked in my driveway, lights a’flashin.
Fast food means scarfing down a meal together at the kitchen table in one of the Dairy Man’s brief breaks between loads of hay. Etiquette goes out the window as we rehash our days through gaping mouths full of leftover chicken. If we’re lucky, we will use plates. But sometimes it’s just much easier to eat straight from the tupperware.
Sometimes I dream of leisurely French meals. Six courses, good wine, sparkling conversation, an entire evening dedicated to the art of dining. I would bask in the hors d’oeuvres, delight in the cheese plate, rejoice in the main course. I would use words like “divine,” “glorious,” and “resplendent.” I picture myself wearing some sort of elaborate hat. But alas, when I shake myself free of thoughts filled with truffles and caviar, I am square in rural Michigan. The corn must be planted; the hay must be harvested; and my job is to simply make sure the Dairy Man eats something between lunch and bed. Right now, we live on fast food.
And as long as our fast food doesn’t include a Mc-Anything, I feel ok about that. This season, like most, won’t last forever. For now I will simply work on my speed and agility in meal preparation and wait for a day with plates, napkins, and a beginning, middle, and end.