Thursday, April 29, 2010

Milestone Post 500!! & Memoriam Tribute

Today, I reach my 500th post. Today is also the birthday of a dear, departed family friend. After her passing, there was no funeral or memorial, so we had no opportunity to collectively say our farewells. Here is mine.

She loved pomp and circumstance. She loved crafting fine cuisine. She loved the little details. "What were they wearing? Who was there? What was said? What was eaten? How was it prepared?" These were the questions one had to be prepared to answer when telling her a story.

I loved her filet gumbo. Oh, how I long for just one more bowl. The secret was just the right touch of filet powder, and just the right okra to rice ratio. No shrimp; only shredded chicken. I loved her cinnamon-raisin baked apples. I can smell the aroma wafting through her house right now. Mmmm, and the buttery, creamy custard (baked in a water bath, of course!).

She was my mom's best friend for 35 years. She was loyal, frank, and to some, abrasive. As children, we hated to see her coming because she was always telling us how to do things. She had very precise ideas about how things should be done, and she NEVER hesitated to share her opinion. She was an absolute treasure trove for the rules of etiquette, and she could lay a table for royalty at a moment's notice.

She was the kind of person whom you could call at any time of the day or night. She would open her home to you anytime you were in need, and more than once we were, and she did. Once, we appeared on her doorstep without prior notice, suitcases in hand, and we stayed two months.

She cooked marvelous food for us and made us Sleepytime tea and sat up late to hash over the cares of the world. She shared her life with us, and even when she and my mom would disagree, they always shared a deep mutual respect. Disagreements were never allowed to alter or diminish the friendship.

In her final years, when she was ill, I spent a good deal of time with her on my own, as an adult. She encouraged me in my college endeavors, and helped me in many small ways. She gave me trinkets, heirlooms, and a few of her prized possessions. Because of these gifts, there is a reminder of her in every room of my home. A Waterford crystal Christmas ornament, a few antique necklaces, some scarves, my prized French onion soup mugs, a coffee mug, table linens, cashmere sweaters in need of mending, gardening books and cookbooks inscribed with her name, and my Mantis garden tiller.

I think of her every time I use one of these items, and when I look at my chickens, and when I read Emily Post, and when I make baked apples and Sleepytime tea. She was always there, and she was the kind of friend to whom you could say anything. She was strong and strong-willed. As much as I hated to see her coming when I was a child, that is as much as I learned to appreciate her as an adult. She felt the same about me. We were like family. We miss her. I am sure she knows. Until we see her again...

Happy Birthday, JL!
I was wearing my purple and grey wool sweater
with chinos and my fuzzy scarflette and mary jane's.
We had chicken and rice soup, and the day was cold and rainy.
Not much was said.
There were umbrellas all around.

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Lenox Knits said...

She sounds like an amazing woman. you were very lucky to have her in your life. This was a lovely tribute post to her.

Nancy said...

What a beautiful tribute to someone special. I don't know her, or you, really, and it brought tears to my eyes. We all have special people in our lives...must remember to let them know.