This Great Society - Contents




Creative Writing


Illustration: Jim Boraas

"Necessity" Short Story by Veronica Collins
Illustration: Alicia Gonzalez

Butter and flour and milk and broth. White sauce the old-fashioned way. Chicken over egg noodles just like we used to make it on the farm, if you don't count the jar of gourmet fire-roasted red peppers and the dash of poultry seasoning I learned how to chop and mix and dry myself. Chop and mix, stir and taste. Sipping a honey lager that glows golden on the counter. Boards of Canada on the stereo, night deepening outside as Vancouver joggers flish-flash past, as lights go on over the bridge, creating the shimmering view from the side streets.

There is comfort in this: chop and mix, stir and taste. Simmer and cover. Wipe and sweep and adjust the burner. I find myself smoothing the over-worked, inflamed passageways of my mind as I chop and mix, stir and taste. Like the shuddering subsiding of sobs into peace, the unanswered questions, the grating doubts, the baggage of the day and the week and the years, subsides in the kitchen's warm light.

Afterwards, there will be the pool of lamp's light and the pages to write in. The questions will emerge again from the evening's shadows, but less threatening than in the noonday glare, tamed by the affirmation of life that is this: chop and mix, stir and taste.

For unto the day is the evil sufficient. For this moment we need to nourish. For at this time we re-affirm that this matters, the nuance of two dashes of pepper or three, the flick of the whisk, the curl of white milk into the savory golden pan. This matters and is beautiful, as does and as is everyone around the table, whether a dozen familiar faces or my own blurry reflection in the darkened windowpane. Feed and be fed. Love and be loved. Move to the necessities of life with no grudge, but with grace. Allow the routine to heal you, the bathing of time – often so annoying in its demands. The repetition, the turn and turn again, becomes a dance of acceptance. A waltz with necessity, but with gratefulness.

Chop and mix, stir and taste. For this thy bounty, we thank you. 



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