Friends Among Cabbages

The grocery store was awash with shoppers filling carts of silver wire on rolling wheels of four. Rounding the bend I spotted plastic jugs of milk, a sack of red potatoes and two boxes of Mini-Wheats heading straight away. I swerved to the side before racing a plush bunny in blue. One long and lean leg swung over the side, enjoying the ride. And, just in front of him was a young woman checking her list, pushing a buggy brimming with apples and oranges, boxes of diapers and a tall can of whip cream tipping next to mold of bright green J.e.l.l.o.

Slowly, I scanned the array of fresh, red meats, not sure of what to fix or eat. My kids were coming to stay with grandbabies too. I needed something easy to throw in a pot, to cook all day while I finished working. What would it be for me?

Just then, an elderly man of about 75 years or more, tapped my shoulder.

“Excuse me, do you know where I might find the corned beef?” “Hmmm…it should be right here,” I responded. “Let me find it for you.”

I scanned the coolers, but couldn’t find corned beef anywhere. “Do you think we should ask someone,” inquired the man with the kind moon face. His hair was balding blonde, and his eyes were clear and crystal blue. Looking into them, I sensed something faraway, as if he felt all alone in the world.  Surprisingly, he took my hand to introduce himself.

“Hello, my name is John, what is your name?”

“Kim,” I answered, grasping his long fingers in my own.

“Kim, that’s a beautiful name. Nice to meet you.”

John smiled, making me blush. A warmth surrounded him, making me feel comfortable, and happy to meet him. I went on to find an employee of the store who soon discovered a fresh batch of corned beef in the back room.

“How do you cook it,” John asked? “It’s just me, this year,” he said, bending his head.

With a gentle smile, I told him how my mother used to cook corned beef. “She added a plump head of cabbage with a bunch of carrots before dropping in red potatoes together with an onion and spices. Then, she simply cooked all of it together in one big pot,” I added with a big grin!

“Thank you!” John’s spirits were starting to lift. Perhaps my enthusiasm was rubbing off on him a bit?

“You know, John, I’m glad I met you,” I said, scooping up a package of corned beef. “This sounds really good to me!”

Together, John and I rolled over to the cabbage bin, new friends by happenstance.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


The Friendship Ring

friendship rings

This is quite unusual.  Earlier, I startled awake having dreamed of writing my post with a title already in place.  I accept the fact that it’s not extraordinary for a writer to dream of words.  Often during my “sleep state” I see them dancing in pairs to a beautiful waltz.  Polished wooden instruments are playing among a full orchestra down in the pit shining under stage lights.  The scene and sound within my sleeping mind may go on the whole night through.

This is different, though.  In the darkness of my bedroom last night, I slept like a baby in a big crib.  It’s only when my eyes popped open this morning that I was startled so.  There was this title, “The Friendship Ring,” milling about as I slid cozy blue cozy slippers upon my feet.  Rarely do I ever title a post until I’m finished writing it.  It’s just the way I work.  The simple and true fact is that I never know where the keyboard will take me until I’m finished.  Today, I’m working in reverse.  It’s a surprise for you and me!  Let’s see where we go ….

Last night a holiday party was held in the neighborhood where I caught up with friends I haven’t seen in a while together with others I’ve never met before.  My neighbor’s house was decorated beautifully,like a picture postcard ripped from the pages of “Better Homes and Gardens.”  Trees were lit in every room, berried wreaths were hung on colored papered walls, and reindeer pranced down snowy table runners sprinkled with Christmas colored diamonds.

As I went from room to room, “oohing and ahhing” at the most magnificent decorations, I was stopped by a middle-aged couple from down south; Baton Rouge, Louisiana to be exact.  They were visiting the host who they had known for years and years.  The gentleman had a slight drawl, the kind I caught only at the end of certain words or phrases when he spoke.  His head was thick with hair the color of salt and pepper grey, and he wore a long-sleeved red woolen shirt.  Taking my cold slender hand, he warmed it when he shook it jolly, like Santa would.

His wife was different, yet similar.  They were a nice complement to one another, I could tell.  She was dressed in festive slacks and a fuchsia silken blouse, loosely draped at the neck.  The moment she smiled her warmth radiated like I’d known her all of my life.  We shook hands politely and introduced ourselves.  Then we talked for what seemed like hours.  In fact it was.  It felt like we’d been friends for years or maybe more.

They loved my stories of writing, something they dabbled in, while I was enthralled by their tales of travel.  They could “pick up and go” whenever it fancied them so.  At one time, their eyes widened in horror listening to my snowy weekend weather report.  “Can it really be that bad?”  At the same time, they mused of “balmy blue seas, tropical temperatures, and crepe myrtle full of buzzing bees.”

When it became apparent that the party was near its end (almost everyone had left by then) we exchanged addresses, e-mails,  and promised to “stay in touch.”   The three of us said our “good-by’s,” before walking into the cold and snowy night.

For me, the party was a great success.  My neighbor’s house was a holiday card of beauty incomparable.  The food and drink were better than any restaurant could have served.  It was a pleasure to see my friends and other neighbors: to talk and laugh and have some fun.  The biggest surprise of the evening was the gift of new friends.  I learned so very much from couple I met last night.  They taught me about their culture, their love of nature and their freedom.  I felt their warmth, and their love of spirit.

This new day I have two new friends who live way down south in another state.  It is a long ride down river away from me.   Yet, I will always remember them and hopefully they will always remember me.

candle on the christmas tree

Friends From the Past, They Shall Never Know

Fallen Leaves

No Friendship is an Accident”  –O. Henry, Heart of the West

Many years have come and gone since I’ve thought of this friend of mine from long ago.  I’m not sure what triggered this morning memory.  Perhaps it was the damp, musty smell of the fallen leaves when I opened our french door this morning.  A slight rain drizzled while the cool air brushed across my face, helping to wake me for the day.

My dog, “Doodles,” ran like a tiger out to the edge of our property, chasing a white-tail deer or two.   Of course he marked his territory, something he always does in the hopes of keeping other animals at bay.  He  leaves his mark on my beloved, hydrangea bushes.  Their candy pink and cornflower blue blooms are mostly dried and spent by this time of year, long nibbled and fallen to the mulch beneath them.