Sundays with Nat

On Sunday afternoons, many of my male friends will retreat to their “man caves.” I’ve written before about these enigmatic places — spare rooms, basements, converted garages where a guy can steal away to play computer games or smoke a joint or read, I guess. I don’t know what happens in man caves, I’ve never actually been in one. In my imagination they are dark and smell of tobacco and dust.

The kitchen serves a similar purpose in my life. When I’m cooking, it’s a space — both mentally and physically — I can withdraw to, focus and engage in my craft. Except unlike a man-cave, there’s no locked door, no barrier to entry for my wife or kids. I hate to think I could be holed away somewhere and have my wife or kids wondering what I was doing in there. I’m happy to share this part of myself with them, it brings us all closer. My children take a particular joy in eating something they have helped me prepare.

I pass a lot of Sunday afternoons with my friend Nat. Our wives are good friends, the kids all get along well. I don’t think he has a man-cave, either. There is something nurturing about the time Nat and I spend together, whether alone or in the company of our families. Some other men friends of mine belong to a “men’s group”, where they talk about “things,” exposing one another to their feelings, or sit in drum circles and smoke pot. Having grown up with five sisters, I usually feel more comfortable when there are women around. Plus, I can’t stand drum circles, and I usually don’t want to talk about “things.” But I do enjoy slow, quality time with a buddy like Nat. It’s different than time with my wife or kids. Sometimes we talk about “things,” but there’s no pressure. Sometimes we just drink beer and watch the chickens scratching around out back.

Every man should be able to cook his woman a good meal. In fact, if he’s single he should be able to cook himself a good meal. It’s a matter of dignity — like being able to catch a fish or build a good fire. Nat, like I, has chickens — although I’ve had mine for years, his are new and have only just begun sporadically laying. He told me recently they had discovered 12 eggs hidden in an unexpected part of the coop. Maybe I could teach him to make homemade pasta?

That’s how Nat and I spent our most recent Sunday, not hidden away but right there in the kitchen, drinking beer and kneading dough. A fire crackled in the hearth, the laughter of kids permeated the house. A little after 5:30 p.m., he left for home to cook his new ravioli for his wife, and my wife and kids lit candles and we sat down to a meal of our own.

Come out of the man-cave, brothers. Your people are hungry.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mom
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 01:16:34



  2. Lisa Gaskin
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 02:42:35

    I have a woman cave


  3. medrat
    Nov 18, 2011 @ 17:47:19

    nice work Captain CAVEMAN!!!!


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