Tag Archives: friends

My Visit with Coco in Missoula

21 Dec

Missoula morningDowntown Missoula at 8AM this morning.

view from Coco's houseThe view from Coco’s living room window around 10AM.

This past week I’ve been lucky to have spent some time relaxing with my son, Coco.  During my visit, he was able to take a little time off from work and we went on long walks, played cards, and watched a few movies.  We also cooked together… and several times Coco cooked for me.   It’s pretty amazing to see the young man that he has become and I am very lucky to have had this opportunity to simply hang out with him in Missoula.

The other night, Coco invited several friends – Cody, Mason, Mike, Audrey, and Lynn – over to his apartment for a home-made pizza dinner.  To prepare, we first went shopping for groceries.  As we were walking back to the apartment, I realized that I’d forgotten to buy mozzarella for the pizza.  One of the key ingredients and I’d spaced it!

“That’s okay, Mom”, Coco told me.  “Audrey can make some.”   I’d recently met Audrey and she is very sweet… but wasn’t that asking a bit much?  And doesn’t it take a long time to make mozzarella cheese anyway?  Well, the answer was “No” to both questions.  Audrey was happy to bring over the necessary ingredients (a gallon of milk and some enzymes) and in just about an hour we had “fresh mozzarella.”   I was amazed!  All the years I have spent in the kitchen, and never once did I ever even think of making cheese!  Well, I can tell you with certainty, that that will definitely change!

Yesterday while Coco was at work I made an apple pie for his friends and co-workers.  I wanted to thank them for welcoming my son into their hearts and community.  It’s such a good feeling to know that Coco has found a place where he is happy and comfortable, is able to survive on his own, and is supported by a close circle of friends.  What more could a mother hope for?

Coco and Me

Coco and me.

“You can’t make me be nice.
You can’t make me be good.
You can’t make me believe.
But your example, your kindness, your patience and love will affect me perhaps enough that eventually I may choose to do those things.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich

Home-made Bagels… and a Quiche for Friends

21 Mar

Wishin’ you a pot o’ gold, and all the joy your heart can hold.

On Sunday March 17th it was my turn to provide snacks for the church coffee hour.   I love to bake and so this isn’t really a chore for me at all.  As it was a cold day, I knew that I would serve hot apple cider.   As for the baked goodies, I first chose to make gluten-free cheesecake brownies because I know several folks in our congregation who are gluten intolerant.  To do this, I merely replaced the all-purpose flour in my brownie recipe with some gluten-free all-purpose flour.  Then I mixed 8 oz of cream cheese with 1/4 cup of sugar and one egg until it was smooth and swirled it into the brownie mix in the pan.

Then, since it was St. Patrick’s Day, I made green Rice Krispie Treats like the ones pictured below because I wanted (felt the need to make) something celebratory.  And let’s add a bit of Irish humor here: “Why do you Irish always answer a question with a question?” asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt. “Do we now?” came New York Mayor Al Smith’s reply.

green rice krispie treats

Photo from http://www.sugarrookie.com

Lastly, I decided to make some home-made bagels for the parishioners who do not (or cannot) eat sweets.

bagels

Home-made bagels?  Yes!   About a year or two ago I found a recipe by a man named John D. Lee.  For five years, John owned a bagel restaurant and he clearly knows a thing or two about bagels.  In this recipe, John demonstrates how to make DELICIOUS bagels in a little over an hour.   You have got to try this recipe and let me know how you like it.  If you love a good bagel, I think you’ll be amazed that they can be made this simply.

Now for the pie of the week.  I’d been itching to make a pie and so I scanned our fridge and noticed that there were mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and shredded cheddar – perfect ingredients for a quiche.  But who would receive this savory pie?  As I rolled out the dough, and sautéed the mushrooms I let my mind wander.  The name of the person would come in time.

Once assembled, I placed the quiche in the oven to bake.   In a short while I thought of neighbors who I knew would appreciate help with a meal.  Not because they can’t cook or because they need money, but because their lives are so complicated right now.  Here’s hoping my quiche will offer them a momentary respite and give them assurance that they are surrounded by caring friends.

The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.  ~Leo Rosten

 

The Wrong Number… or was it?

7 Nov

A few days ago I prepared some gluten-free Manicotti for an older friend who is moving to Portland.  I thought having a ready-made meal would make the week before moving a bit easier.  After the Manicotti was finished, I dialed her number to let her know what I’d done and ask when I could bring it over.  After a few rings, a very tired voice answered the phone.

“Oh my Sharon, did I wake you?” I asked, feeling terrible for disturbing her.  “No” she answered, “I’m not feeling well.” “I’m so sorry… do you need anything?”  “No… I’ve got people taking care of me,” she replied, “What can I do for you?”  Confused and still feeling bad about disturbing her, I said “Oh that’s okay. I can call back when you are feeling better.”  And then she said, “I don’t think I am going to get better… you’d better tell me now.”  “What”? I thought, Sharon is supposed to move in a few days!   I quickly explained that I had made her Manicotti… that she could share it with a friend or her daughter… and that is when she said, “I think you’ve got the wrong number.  My name is ______ _______. ”  Immediately I apologized profusely for disturbing her… and then the call was over.

Oh my.  I felt awful.  I’d accidentally called an acquaintance, which is not hard to do in a small town, and I had just found out that she was not well.  What do I do?  What would you do?

The easy thing to do would have been to let it go… say a prayer wishing her well and go on with my life.  And for a few days, I tried just that.  Finally yesterday I gave in to the desire to do something to show that I cared by preparing a pie.  I didn’t think that she would be able to eat it necessarily, but she’d said that she was being cared for by others, so I knew that there would be someone there that she could offer it to.

When the pie was done, I looked up the address and drove over to my friend’s neighborhood.  The house was dark, and I knocked softly.   There was no answer so I left the pie on her doorstep. After I got back home, I called and left a message on her machine explaining that I was the “wrong number” from the other day…offered my apology again… and any assistance that she might need.

A while later my phone rang and it was my friend calling to thank me for the “still warm” pie.  We talked for a few minutes and without asking she shared her very serious diagnosis and her fears.  My heart ached for her… because of what she faces… and because I had no answers.  All I could offer her was my concern… and food, whenever she wanted it.   She thanked me again, and after a few more minutes, we said goodbye.

Even though I cannot fix anything for my friend, I am glad that I followed my instinct to reach out.  Though it is painful to know that she is suffering, I have shown her in my own way that I care.  Henceforth, I will keep her in my prayers, hope for a miracle, and be thankful for the mistake that brought me such a rare and meaningful opportunity.

There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Day 333: Coming Together

4 Mar

A few days ago I heard that a friend’s son was involved in an accident and that he was in the hospital.  The good news is that he is expected to fully recover; the “rest of the” news is that it will take some time to do so.

A friend of mine called the other day to ask if I would be interested in being “on call” for dinners as the family will have a lot to do when their son comes home, and of course, I said “yes.”  Today, when that same friend called to give me an update on the family, I asked if she thought a Chocolate Cream Pie would be appreciated.  We had a brief discussion, and decided, how could it not be?

I am always moved when, in moments like these, friends and community come together to help the person who is facing a difficult situation. In moments of crisis, we all want to help in some way or another, and usually preparing food is one area where we can actually “do something.”  Bringing food to someone in trouble is very common in many cultures; it is one need we can fill.

And so tonight I brought a Chocolate Cream Pie to our friends house (and put it in the cooler that was on the front porch) for the friends and family that will be there soon.  We send our love and good wishes for a speedy recovery and heartfelt thanks that the injuries weren’t much worse.

“There are no mistakes, no coincidences.  All events are blessings given to us to learn from.”  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Day 302: Linda’s Birthday

2 Feb

Two years ago, at about this time, we arrived in Barra de Navidad during what seemed like a stormy season.  The sky was filled with clouds and rain fell for the first couple of days.  On one of those nights, Marie invited us to the Hotel Sands to celebrate her friend Linda’s birthday.

Tonight we were once again invited to celebrate Linda’s birthday but this time the celebration was being held at Lucy’s restaurant.  The event was a pot luck and so it was only fitting that I bring a pie as my contribution to the meal.

To help me put the finishing touches on the pie, I brought Marie’s grandsons, Ke’ale and Pueo, to my apartment.  They waited patiently as I whipped the cream and coated the banana slices for the top of the pie.  When it was finally done, I asked them to pose with the pie.  This is what that looked like:

Tonight’s Chocolate Banana Cream Pie recognizes friends who are like family and the tender threads that hold us all together.  And to Linda, Feliz Cumpleanos!

Day 285: A Friend

16 Jan

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

Yesterday I ran into a friend of mine at the grocery store and stopped to say hello.  We chatted for a few minutes and I noticed something was different; his usual happy-go-lucky persona was missing.  When I asked him what was wrong, he told me that he was going through a pretty difficult time.

I know that it was not easy for him to share his story with me and I felt good that he trusted me enough to do so. I also found myself wishing that I could take a magic wand and wave it over him and grant him three wishes.   And knowing him as I do, I know that he wouldn’t use any of his wishes for himself.  Instead he would use them to help and benefit those that he loves most.

This morning I found myself thinking of this friend and decided to make him a quiche to share with his family.  It is my gentle reminder that he has friends that care about him and that we are here should he need us.

It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us.  Epicurus

Day 284: Rachel and Mike

15 Jan

A few months ago I wrote about a young man from our small town who was the victim of a violent homicide.   His name was David and he was only twenty-three years old. As a parent of two young adults I felt deeply moved by this tragedy and my heart ached for David’s parents.   As a small gesture I sent a quiche to his Mother and offered my condolences on the loss of her son.

At this point in time, the killer has not yet been found.  And somehow the residents of Ashland try to go about doing what they have always done while living with the knowledge that they aren’t as safe as they had once thought.  And, of course, for David’s parents, life will never be the same.

Recently I was told about a couple who are friends of David’s Mother.  For the past few months they have been helping her get through the most difficult time of her life.   I am very grateful that she was able to count on them for the help and support that she needed and hope they realize what a comfort they have been to her.   Today I brought them a Dutch Apple Pie to thank them for the gift of their friendship.    My hope is that we will all have friends like this when we most need them.

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.”  Henri Nouwen
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 465 other followers