On The Trail Of Family and Friends

Crab Risotto

On a quiet Saturday afternoon, I joined my friend for a drink and conversation to just make sure we were both keeping our heads above water.  The challenges of parenthood, of marriage, of employment, and of life melt away over a pomegranate martini and a pinot noir raised in a toast to friendship.  And upon the recommendation that we should try the crab risotto, we order the appetizer with slices of asparagus, colorful orange edges, decoratively sliced scallions, and tender bit of crab.  And when the waitress thoughtfully brings the creamy delight to our us in two bowls, she correctly guessed that the two friends would share the fare in the same way they share the stories of their lives.  And all too soon, the risotto and the afternoon were gone.

To Kill A Mockingbird

Using the “piddly roads,” as my father calls them, I sneak among the corn fields to reach the outdoor theater at New Salem, Illinois.  Tonight a dear friend takes the stage as Atticus Finch, and clock counts down to the raising of the curtain as I turn off one county road and down another empty lane to reach the theater.  Vacation sometimes is about cramming in as much as possible during a short amount of time, and while I am feeling the crunch on this drive, I cannot imagine not including this friend, this performance, and this evening in this vacation.  With apologies for entering the theater a few minutes late, I watch a southern gentleman on stage, and know that passing row upon endless row of withering corn in a maze of unknown roads is worth the drive to enjoy his final performance.

The Cool Aunt
I finally met my nephew.  The role of the aunt is non-defined, and in my family, I, myself, have more than a half dozen of them.  Each aunt is different, not too mom-like, sometimes a little goofy, sometimes a little more fun, and sometimes more cool.  One of my aunts, Marie, fits that bill.  She has mannerisms like my Mom, but she’s certainly more fun and definitely cooler.  I wonder if my nephew will see me this way.  I’ll certainly be the aunt that lives far away and pops in from time to time.  I’ll be the aunt that he visits when he vacations in the Sunshine State.  I’ll be the aunt that tells him the stories about his Dad that make him see he was once a kid, too.  And hopefully, I’ll be his Aunt Marie.
A Mentor and A Friend
I devoted today to seeing a former boss.  She is also my friend, but mostly she is amazing.  She lives privately, but beautifully.  She enjoys good food and good people.  She strives for greatness and wants to see it in others.  Her value to me is certainly worth a three-hour drive across the Mississippi River, through the Biodiesel Capital of the World, along the Lewis and Clark Trail, and into the heart of Mizzou Tiger country.  For a bite of beautiful salad and a couple hours of conversation, this day of my vacation reminds me of the kind of person I ought to be.