All I Can Do

It is those last, edgy days of the school year.  Please don’t equate that with a sentiment like hated.  They are just so difficult, physically and emotionally, and the weather is sure to turn hot, and it is difficult to trudge through.  Rereading those last two sentences, I can see that I have been massively influenced by the Jane Eyre audio book I have been listening to, that is scaffolding me through the week.

Tomorrow is Happy Trails day for us.  When we moved to Tunisia, we brought with us a tradition of singing a remixed version of Gene Autry’s “Happy Trails to You” to everyone who is departing from our community on the final day.  Here’s how we do it:

Happy trails to you

Until we meet again.

Happy trails to you

Keep smilin’ until then.

Happy trails to you

Till we meet again.


It’s time to say

Goodbye to our school.

Remember us

‘Cause we’ll remember you.

Au revoir,


We will meet again someday.

We got this from our great friend, Kathy Shrestha, who worked with us at the Lincoln School in Kathmandu.  She gave everyone there a stuffed heart necklace to remember Lincoln School by.  We give everyone a hand-painted antique key to recall our mission:  Opening doors, hearts, and minds.

It has been an emotionally strange week.  I can feel certain people trying to draw me closer.  I have always noticed when I have been leaving a place that there are people who think we should have been better friends all along and try to take our relationship to the next level right before I or they get on a plane.  On the other hand, there are people who are lashing out, expressing deeply held resentments.    I am just trying to pace through these landmines, gracefully.  I am trying to be honest, and kind, and honoring.  I am not mourning, however.  I did that in December.  I cried my eyes out for the human loss at our school.  Then I focused on a season of presence while we all remained.  Now, I am trying to help everyone pass through the formalities of their departures, but I said goodbye a long time ago.

After an energetic middle school day, today, I was craving my garden and cooking over charcoal.  I made up Simit Kebap. a recipe that intrigued me and one which I had been stashing away the components to make.  Exactly the cure for today was to prep food, mix it, all the while listening to more of Jane Eyre, then grill it in the garden.  It was only as I was assembling the final components that I noticed a quarter-sized hunk missing from the spatula I had been using to push the puree down into the blender.  There were no noticeable pieces of plastic in the puree so I knew it had been well-incorporated.  The whole batch went into the compost bin where the feral neighborhood cats will eat the meat.  My husband went and fetched pizzas and I peeled and cut a cantaloupe, something I am capable of doing tonight.

I shall return to Simit Kebap, a wonderful Turkish kebab, whether here on when I get to Lummi Island next week.  I am going to tuck the recipe here so I can find it when the time is right.

Simit Kebap (ground lamb, bulgur, and pistachio kebabs)

Serves 6-8

  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped mint
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small, yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 red Holland chile, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/4 cup fine bulgur, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and drained
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 9 metal skewers
  • 2 tbsp.  olive oil
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • Yogurt and hot sauce, for serving

1.  Puree pistachios and 1/4 cup water in a food processor until very smooth.  Add parsley, mint, chile flakes, allspice, garlic, scallions, onions, and chilies; pulse until almost smooth.  Transfer to a bowl.  Add lamb, bulgur, salt, and pepper;  using hands, mix until combined. Form about 1/3 cup mixture around the end of each skewer; refrigerate until meat is firm, about 1 hour.

2.  Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high;  bank coals or turn off burner on one side.  Grill kebabs on hottest part of grill, turning as needed, until slightly charred and cooked through, 12-15 minutes.  Transfer kebabs to a platter;  drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sumac.  Serve with yogurt and hot sauce.

2 thoughts on “All I Can Do

  1. Ah yes, the leavings. And, after this past year, what is left to do the leaving well. If it were me, the answer would be “not much”. Kind,honest and honoring are amazing goals for the season. This too shall pass, and I hope for sweet memories to surface slowly over the summer to honor the year that you have lived through. I hope too for a restorative summer. And maybe, some kebabs!

  2. Simply delightful! I can’t imagine how draining your emotions must be at a time like this. The kebab recipe looks so good!

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