Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Today was not exactly what I neither planned nor hoped for; rather it became a day of reflection on love and romance. Can you have love without romance? I’m sitting here listening to Audrey Hepburn and Henry Mancini’s Moon River, (Breakfast at Tiffany’s~ One of my favorite romantic movies).
Recently, a friend called to say, “I often think about you.” He likened my life to that of a caged bird with energy and intelligence to fly and could not. How remarkable thinking his analogy was insightful and clearly demonstrating he really gave this … rather… me and my life some thought. He continued, “I imagine if you wake up one morning and find you have your wings again, you will not know quite what to do.” Jokingly, I suggested I should become this wild, loose woman on the prowl. We laughed. In all likelihood, he is not my “Huckleberry Friend”… but who knows. He enjoys train rides and before this arctic blast settled in, he asked if I would join him on a short trip…. “There is a reason people take vacations and a reason steel bends. I know you believe no one can care for Fredrick like you, and perhaps this is true, but you need a break.” All a pretext to, “Just to give a nice lady a break.” (My cynical me.) Perhaps in the spring and before the ground totally thaws (I am anxiously waiting to plant my garden) I will take that train ride.
Today another friend came to visit… I call him the lover of my soul because he is my steady. At my lowest moments, he elevates me. He gave me on this Valentine’s Day a reason to smile, laugh and far too much chocolate to devour. His time to sit and talk, listen, and laugh at my memories as well he indulges the romantic me effortlessly and far too often I fail to reciprocate… He empathizes with my exhaustion and spoils me regardless and today was no different. My plan to make lamb stew (finally) is on hold again. Instead, after sharing a memory of my mom and dad’s fiery passion and filet mignon steaks, he whispered in my ear, “Filet mignon is a better choice.”
Do I dare share this “memory?”
My dad loved cooking and at the top of his food chain was a good porterhouse, New York strip or rib eye. However, my mom thought these cuts rendered far too much meat and fat (always one to watch her weight). One afternoon Daddy arrived home with ten filet mignon steaks. He prepared the steaks to broil, made a delicious macaroni and cheese along with a tasty garden salad. Predictably, he and Mother began passionately discussing something and could not come to a timely consensus. I looked forward to enjoying this dinner and continued assisting my dad as things heated up between these two. Before long they decided to throw the steaks at each other and fortunately, having studied modern dance, I could leap and gracefully catch the steaks, thus saving our meal. It really was a lovely dinner after all!
Their relationship was fiery, spontaneous, passionate and all seared in friendship. At their initial introduction to each other, this strapping young man looked at my mom and said, “You’re going to become my wife.” My mom thought he was nuts! She often joked. My dad was then 20 and my mom 17. He invited both she and her mom to the movies that night and kissed my mom on her cheek. As a preemptive strike, he immediately kissed my grandmother on her forehead… Both these ladies blushed and bonded immediately with this stranger. Eight days later, he found his way to her little country town and that day, the two of them became husband and wife standing on the front porch of my mother’s childhood home. A house my grandfather built. Her uncle, an ordained minister, performed their nuptials. They lived their love story for 56-years and until his death, she was his bride. To celebrate their FiftiethWedding Anniversary, he gave her the wedding she always missed. Not just his wife, but also his bride and as he took his last breath, his bride held him tightly. Later, Mother said, “Half of me died that day.”
My mom was a true romantic and Valentine’s Day became a designated day for Daddy to not forget how she loved romance. Often he did forget… However, as my sisters and I grew older, he would “assign” me to purchase her candy and my oldest sister to pick up roses. I would buy no less than five pounds of chocolate because there were five daughters who wanted chocolate too. Yes, he fussed each time I arrived with this enormous, terribly expensive red box and insisted he pay me before passing him the “gift.” As well, my sister with beautiful long-stem American Roses held out her hand too, “Money first”. My dad and two brothers in a house filled with spirited women… What an adventure.
So today, in memory of my parents on Valentine’s Day… Because it was my mom’s special day for romance, I mark their love with one of the best dinners I remember from my childhood.
Seared Filet Mignon
Macaroni and Cheese au Gratin
Sautéed Mushrooms and Spinach
Moon River, wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you’re going, I’m going your way
Two drifters off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after the same rainbow’s end
Waiting ’round the bend, my huckleberry friend
Moon River and me
(Lyrics by Johnny Mercer)
Is it too late? I am guessing because at two o’clock in the morning I’m listening to music, I’m writing, and I am learning to dream again… Absolutely not. The day is no longer young… and that’s OK too. A reawakening to the woman hiding behind “caregiver” is a little exciting. What is life without transformation and becoming happier, aroused by the sheer joy of life and love as well peace with it all… myself and my surroundings? Another season of life and like my mom, the eternal romantic… seeking for the rainbow’s end… Moon River and me.
Hanging out today in my TINYKITCHEN destined for GREATTASTE on a journey assigned to grow a BIG HEART. Thank you.
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