The waitress said, this is one of the nicest celebrations I’ve ever seen… with a tear in her eye.
David, our host, towered above the eclectic crew of 14 who had gathered in the restaurant’s back room to honour life. Nay a tear was shed there – it just could not happen. There was too much to be thankful for.
We were all eating food that we knew Mom and Dad – Bill and Paula – Nanna and Poppa – Grandma and Grandpa liked. It was as though eat mouthful tasted better than anything I had ever tasted in my life. It had to. The food represented Mom and Dad’s lives: succulent, flavourful, rich, well-done, elegant, timely, well seasoned. I could go on. Suffice it to say – the meal nourished our souls.
How can one capture the essence of what had just happened only an hour previous to these dining and dancing delights?
Food has always been a big part of our lives. Growing up, my brother would always ask for the same thing from Mom for his birthday dinner: escargots, fondue, pineapple delight, and garlic bread. The escargots at Red Lobster were almost too much to take. I must confess they almost brought a tear to my eye – our connection to food appears to be one of the last “senses” to go – if that makes sense? Jamie, Martin and I had to order lobster (not grilled, but steamed) for Dad, and scallops for Mom (count how many are on the plate!). Fantastic. Megan ordered the coconut shrimp that Mom had always ordered when she and Megan and she and I and my kids ate at Red Lobster. Fantastic. Again – the shrimp almost brought a tear. I could go on.
Food is memories. And every memory associated with food is happy. Who wouldn’t be happy eating Mom’s roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding? Well, again, to be honest – we were not all such big fans of the Yorkshire Pudding, but were all too ashamed to not eat these works of art so carefully and lovingly prepared for dinner by Mom. She had a special pan that still sits almost religiously in the pantry – untouched since the last time “she” used it. “No soap on that pan!”, she would insist. The soap would affected the taste of the puddings.
Food is comforting. All 14 of us walked into Red Lobster yesterday not knowing how to feel. We were slightly lost and although we knew each other very well – we were all slightly uncomfortable with the newness of this unlikely new family we had formed. Here we were – how had it come that we all were gathered together? We all sat – our new family – to enjoy a meal together. How Mom would have celebrated.
And then there was the wine. I could go on.
Yesterday’s meal brought a group of people together who represented all ages in life, all walks in life, all sizes, shapes, and colours… as a family. It had been a “vital” dining experience for all of us.
Dad: You done good kid!
Mom: Wonderful. I just love those coconut shrimp, but I can make escargots better!
Stacey: It was sure nice that you could join us yesterday, Mom and Dad.
Jamie (to the other 13): On behalf of Mom and Dad, I’d like to thank-you for helping us to celebrating the lives of Bill and Paula Duff.