Much of what we ask students to do early in the school year in writing is to write about one small moment in their lives. We want them to tell the story of a time when something happened and then have some sort of reflection that helps the reader to understand why this moment was important. What follows is a small moment story that happened to me today. I’m not yet certain that the reason this is important is evident. Read it and see? I’d be delighted to know if I was able to convey why this moment from my day mattered.
Packing up at the office, everyone’s gone for the day. Friend calls, “Let’s have dinner. I’ll pick you up in a couple of hours.”
I know this is not going to work. I’m starving. My belly is empty. The 11:30 am turkey dog completely gone. I look at the granola bars sitting in the grocery bag on the floor. No. “Okay,” I say, “Let’s go get some ribs.”
I continue packing up as quickly as I can. I throw my iPad, some reading material I didn’t get to today, and my water bottle into a tote bag and head out the door. As I walk up the hill to my car an amazing thing happens.
Honka honka squeaks the bike horn.
I wonder if they’re any good. They must be. He’s in a neighborhood after all. He wouldn’t have repeat business if the tamales weren’t good. I’m so hungry. I click my car open, toss the tote bag into the back seat and lock it. “Hello,” I say to a man walking by. He nods and smiles. I’m determined. I set out in the direction of that delicious sound.
I don’t see him. I don’t hear him. Oh no, Where has he gone? I hasten my pace. I look in and around cars up and down the street. At last, there he is. He’s looking up at houses on the hill.
“Tamaleeeeees TamalesTamales!” He cries again.
“Senior,” I call. “Tamales!”
He has chicken Verde, cheese jalapeno, and red pork. Manna from heaven.
“Two of each please,” I say as I watch him reach into the ice chest and pull warm tamales out, placing them into a plastic sack. So hungry.
He smiles at me. “One dollar for each,” he says. The tamales smell like warm masa fresh from Abuela’s kitchen. My mouth is anxious, my stomach delirious. I rush home, pull one steamy hot tamale from the sack and inhale. After the full and hurried day I’ve just finished the warmth in my hands is a lazy Sunday morning. I place the tamale on a plate and take it outside. I sit on the patio. It is gone in a moment. Chicken Verde, spicy hot, so good. I get another, this time red pork. I peel off the wrapping and add it to the remnants on my plate. Little bits of masa and green chile. I add a little salsa and some sour cream to cut the heat of the next one. Delicious. My shoulders relax. Only, moments later when my friend calls for dinner I have to say, “I’m not really feeling like ribs anymore. But hey, do you like tamales?”