Thursday, December 1, 2011

Magic Beans and Birthday Pony Rides

'Tis December. A month that ends with the ringing out of the present year begins with the ringing in of the commencement of another trip around the sun for my first-born sister Evan. I know not if she and my brother-in-law have a boat but I know she has a pony, which means that for her - unlike for my brother Bill - birthday pony rides are not mere wishes. Happy Birthday Ev and if you and Bentley (? - I think that is his name) end up spending a portion of your big day sailing the ocean blue, know that somewhere Lyle Lovett sits smiling.....and strumming upon his guitar.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call Tuesday afternoon from my recently-transplanted daughter. Suz was in Kroger's doing some grocery shopping and called to inquire of Yours truly about certain items and whether the price of them in her store comparable to the price in the A&P that I shop in weekly. It never ceases to amaze me how one's enthusiasm for something can be contagious. We spent just a couple of minutes on the phone, chatting not only about the importance of coupon-clipping but also about her first visit as an employee to her new gig. The excitement in her voice about all of it was palpable. I do not have a mirror in my office. I did not need one to confirm the presence of the ear-to-ear grin on my face as I listened. While I smile infrequently, I do it enough to recognize that pulling sensation on the corners of my mouth. I felt it.

The best part of the conversation was her telling me that she was shopping for what she needed to make dinner last night. Her entree? Lentils. As small children, Suz and Rob ate dinner every night with Joe, Suzy B. and Nanny. Lentils were a staple item at that table. Suz loves them. So much so that at the completion of her first full day in the heart of Texas, she made them as her first meal in her new home.

But the best part of the day for me was a part that involved me not at all - at least not directly. In the couple of years since Suzy B. died, Joe has become quite the chef. Truth be told, a lifetime ago he owned and operated a diner with at least two of his brothers and he did a lot of the cooking. He has not so much learned to cook in the past two-plus years as he has reacquainted himself with the art of doing it. Necessity is more than the mother of invention apparently. She is also the mother of rekindling.

Joe makes a mean dish of lentils. He knows that it is among Suz's favorite things that he makes so any night he makes them for himself, he sends a meal or two's worth home with Margaret for Suz. Tuesday night, Suz called him to tell him that she had introduced Houston to the dish she had grown to love as a child 'NTSG. He was thrilled. Not so much about the fact that Houston now has lentils among its charms but that she took the time to call him to tell him about it.

Life is comprised of scant few "big events". It is in fact a tapestry of day-to-day, seemingly ordinary events. Events that viewed separately might not seem to be too much at all but when seen for what they actually are - an integral part of a much bigger picture - take on a much more complete profile.

It is the little things that count. Proof that sometimes a hill of beans is not only valuable, it is priceless.

-AK

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