The Salad Days

Last night I had hot spinach salad for dinner. In fact, last night I had hot spinach salad at Hamburger Hamlet. Hot spinach salad is a treat I used to enjoy very much, back when it was ubiquitously included on menus everywhere you went. But it was with a bit of a start when I realized that the time period when I was so happily scarfing on hot spinach salads was about 35 years ago. In fact, I believe I enjoyed spinach salad at my high school graduation dinner. Is this what Shakespeare was referring to in Anthony and Cleopatra: “…in my salad days, when I was green in judgment…”?
Going to Hamburger Hamlet is another memory trigger. This location, in Sherman Oaks, is the last remaining Hamlet, but when I was growing up, they were located all over Los Angeles. It was a “special occasion” restaurant for our family, where a Shirley Temple with a plastic monkey hanging off the rim would only add to the excitement of dining out. And I loved the French Onion soup; my sister went crazy for the Lobster Bisque. We tried them both last night and they tasted just as yummy and delicious as they ever did. Another sense memory.
I don’t often think about aging. Sure, every now and then when I’m having a conversation with a seemingly fully rounded adult and I’ll realize they weren’t born when I voted in my first election. Or graduated from college. Or started working. Then I might think, hmmmmm, that’s odd. I was 25 (or 32) when this person was born. Wow, that’s crazy. How did that happen?
Yesterday I received yet another AARP membership package. Tore it up without a thought. I know, I could get discounts at movie theaters and a swell bonus fanny pack with my initials on it, but ummm, yeah, not thanks. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I know some lovely proud AARP card carrying people, but I don’t think I can reconcile carrying the card when I’m still wrestling with “what to be when I grow up” and still hoping I can grow my hair long enough to braid it at least one more time.
One reason I think that I’m not daunted by the aging process is the example set by my parents, my dad and my stepmom. If you know them, you know that their energy and enthusiasm is both impressive and exhausting. They are in great physical shape, stay incredibly active and are as culturally current as someone half a century younger. If that’s what 80 looks like, I’ll take it!
I don’t know at what point you start to feel “older” or even fully baked. I do know that I’m not there yet, and it doesn’t feel like it’s coming any time soon. I mean, I know chronologically, I’m well into “middle age” and that’s fine, I wouldn’t give up a year or a wrinkle. I also wouldn’t give up the confidence and experience that the years bring you, for a smaller waistline or less achy bones. Life is such an adventure, and I’m always eager to see what’s coming next.
Besides, wasn’t it just yesterday I was enjoying that spinach salad? Why, yes, actually, it was.
The end, for now

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One response

  1. two words…Zucchini Zircles.

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