I offered a challenge to some of my favorite bloggers. I sent them a picture of a table setting and posed the question: What menu do you envision for this table setting? The first one to play was John from Kitchen Riff’s. What a menu he devised. You are going to love it.
Secondly, I challenged myself. What was a possible mini backstory behind this table setting and menu. So here goes …..
The car was loaded to the gunnels with groceries. As much as I disliked grocery shopping after work, I disliked unloading the car and putting the groceries away even more. Of course no one was home to help. Plus it was my night to cook. I had fobbed off pizza and Chinese takeout the last two times that it was my turn. The kids whooped it up. My husband just rolled along. Food wise, he was as easy care as no iron fabric. It was me who insisted we all sit down and share dinner —- a healthy dinner.
In the passenger seat my briefcase bulging with files was silently demanding my attention. I laid my head on the steering wheel, allowing myself a few minutes to wallow in self pity. So tired. Ripped by insomnia my nights were spent howling at the moon, too exhausted and overwhelmed to even sleep. How did my life become a high flying carnival ride, whipping me around and around side to side; when what I craved was a gentle ride on the merry go round. Where was that woman who was always sketching on a drawing pad? Turns out she was replaced with someone who only snapped quick shots with her phone, not even a real camera. Cupcakes for birthday parties were automatically purchased from a bakery. No time to bake and decorate them with a giggly daughter, wearing a too large apron. Reading a good book or laying on chaise lounges on the patio as a family watching for falling stars was now residing on the same wish list as a trip to Paris in April. Don’t even mention silk night gowns and sex.
My phone started buzzing insistently at the same time there was a rapping on my car window. Ignoring my phone which always seemed to be buzzing, I rolled down my window. It was my elderly neighbor, Alvin.
“Millie made lasagna today. So she made you folks a lasagna too. Plus an apple pie. Bumper crop this year off that tree in the backyard.”
I burst into tears.
“Oh dear. What’s wrong? You don’t have to take the lasagna. We can put it in the freezer.” Alvin reached through the window and patted my shoulder awkwardly.
“Oh Alvin, the lasagna and pie are the nicest things that have happened to me all week.,” I blubbered out. “You two are so kind and thoughtful.” I blew my nose and wiped my eyes. “Why, I don’t know.”
“Why? We’re neighbors. Neighbors help each other, like your son mowing my lawn when I had my hip replaced. Nothing is more important than the people in your life. Nothing. You realize that more, when you get to be my age.” He glanced to my back seat. ” So now how about I help you get those groceries into the house.”
“You are going to help me with my groceries?” I burst into tears again.
Two months later …..
Poor Alvin. My meltdown really befuddled him. As it did me. Turning point time. My husband and I cleared the decks — more like we ignored the decks —- and booked a room at a posh hotel for two nights with the type of room service you see in the movies. There we reconfigured our life. Yep, just like that. Small steps of course. Amazing how those small steps add up.
I stepped back after I placed the last shell on the table. Perfect. I had gotten the dishes 15 yrs ago, when we had vacationed on the coast of Maine. I had to have them. Yet for 15 years the dishes languished in a box on the shelf labeled, Some Day. Well that day was here. Alvin and Millie would be arriving in a few minutes. Dinner tonight was a family affair. We all contributed to this special meal to say, hey we appreciate you. Real truths are simple and right under our noses. Yet we still miss them. Alvin was a spot on messenger.. Nothing is more important than the people in your life.