Sometimes I wondered if we were going to be stranded on the island forever. Like maybe this whole thing was a conspiracy by people who practiced witchcraft that would make us stay. What if they cursed us into staying and we ended up being here for 20 years before some super-human came and broke the curse, setting us free of our slavery. Then again maybe we were all part of a serial murder that one of the locals were in on. Huge workings had led us to live alone in a hostel that just so happened to be very far from all other parts of civilization. This could be someone's slow plan of execution.
I'm just using my imagination here. But seriously, there were days when the monotony was more than I could bare. We all went through days like this periodically. Thankfully we had neighbors like Graham and Wayne to break up the repetition, if only for a few hours.
Today was like that. All day long I frowned at my work, being an ungrateful guest. Luckily dinner perked me up because it gave me something to look forward to. After figuring which of Matthew's meat options made the most sense, I decided the meatloaf would be kangaroo based. Kangaroo-loaf, perhaps. I read back through my mother's texts that included the recipe and topped it off with Graham's homemade tomato sauce. We had discovered it while eating at Graham's and now I couldn't get enough of it. That tomato sauce would make dirt taste good!
For our side dishes I made my dad's famous mashed potatoes and fresh coleslaw and Matthew cooked up some sausage, onions and carrots just to make sure no one went away hungry. Maggie made for a great hostess when the guests arrived. She welcomed Graham, Wayne and Danny and put their coats neatly in a pile.
When I came out of the kitchen I was excited to see the set-up in the cafe. Maggie had moved all of the beer and wine to the cafe and set the table accordingly. Pierre had worked hard to make a nice fire for us and the group had pushed together several tables around the fire to look like a barricade. Graham said it was so we could stay warm and also so he could have a backrest.
The dinner was a huge success. There wasn't one drop of food left by the end of it and the wine was nearly gone too. Wayne and Graham told us stories about the island and we all toasted to Danny's last night. In the morning she would be heading back to Adelaide so in her honor we clinked glasses by saying “Gumbay”, the Chinese word for “cheers.”
At one point Matthew stepped out and Wayne asked me how the weather was in Oklahoma. I told him it was hot and dry and the wind was like a hair dryer. He asked about the waving wheat he had heard in the song and I went dreamy on them. I told them the wheat was beautiful this time of year. I explained the waving wheat was our ocean and watching it blow in the breeze was just as mesmerizing as watching the waves at sea. I went on to explain that this time of year we always had a big celebration for wheat harvest. Wheaties came to town. We through breakfast celebrations for them and even let them talk on the radio. Ecstasy fills the streets as our town doubles in size for a few weeks. What is normally a one-horse town, quickly turns into a city with massive traffic jams. The big trucks line the roads while they wait to dump their load into silos and railroads.
Wayne found this process fascinating. The others had similar reactions. They asked me where all the workers came from and I explained that the “wheaties” came from places like Australia and New Zealand. They are highered on by harvesting businesses in Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota. They travel with the harvesting company across the middle of the States, beginning in my hometown and making their way north to Montana. This takes them about six months. Most of them pile up a lot of money and then go back home to support their families for the rest of the year.
At the end of the night Wayne invited us to his house on Sunday. He wanted to cook for us and he said he had a special treat for Maggie and I. That was just what we needed. Something else to look forward to.