You arrive home from a long workday. You grab a frozen pizza and place it in the microwave while you absent-mindedly chop a few vegetables for a salad on the side, all the while thinking about the things you could have done differently during the day, the things you could have said and what lies ahead tomorrow. At last you sit down and relax, somewhat. The food makes you feel restored, somewhat. You retire to bed. You sleep. Somewhat.
You arrive home from a long workday. Thank goodness, this morning you remembered to take a jar of home-made tomato sauce out of the freezer to place it in the refrigerator. A neighbor had brought it, along with other home-canned vegetables, when you stayed home a few weeks ago to recover from minor surgery. You warm it up while the pasta cooks, add some fresh basil and serve with a small glass of wine. The aroma of the sauce catches your attention, as though one day had sufficed for you to forget the aroma of home-made tomato sauce. You smile. You feel comforted, in spite of the concerns on your mind. They surface again a moment later. You do not fight them, but neither do you allow them to settle in, somehow. You retire to bed. You feel uplifted, somehow. You fall asleep promptly, somehow.
You arrive home from a long workday. It is spring. The sun is up to greet you for a few moments still. You feel drawn to the garden. It is small. You began gardening last year. You typically do not stick with new behaviors too long, but gardening was different, somehow. You discover two early tomatoes and the chives look like they are ready to sway to some wind-borne music. On your way to the kitchen, you glance at the mail you picked up at the post office earlier and put it down again, without a thought. You take out the cutting board and begin to slice the small but rich bounty from your garden while a good cut of succulent red meat sizzles lightly in a skillet. The neighbor who gave you the tomato sauce is coming to dinner. Just like that. It was a spur-of-the-moment invitation as you chatted briefly over the fence yesterday. “How about we share dinner tomorrow?” you suggested. “A shared meal to make the week less monotonous. Good idea!” agreed your neighbor. Food tastes different when shared, somehow.
It is the weekend. The neighbor who shared your evening meal, a few weeks ago, talked at length about spending long summer afternoons making fresh tomato sauce with her mother, when she still lived in Chicago. It is not that she talked too much. Far from that. It is just that the warmth in her voice as she talked about younger years made you feel connected, like siblings. You knew exactly what she meant when she recalled laughing uproariously with her mother the day they had just finished running an entire batch of fresh tomatoes through the Squeezo Strainer and, moments later, “Mom tripped over that spot on my floor,” said your neighbor as she struggled to not burst out laughing, “From the corner of the eye it looks like a giant spider and even though we know where it is and what it is, we always forget. So as she caught her balance, thankfully, she let go of the bowl of tomato sauce and the sauce sloshed sideways and out of it as it hit the floor and caught the cat sideways too. Poor kitty was so stunned. She just stood there. It was as though she was watching the scene in slow motion. After she walked away, there was a cat-shaped bare spot on the floor, with a tail and pointy ears, surrounded by sauce and cat footprints walking away from the scene of the crime.” You both have a good laugh. You have not laughed like this in ages.
You have always liked people who can tell a story in a way that allows you to picture every moment. What were the odds? You had moved here on a whim, only to find you lived next to a kind and funny story-teller. Today, she is showing you how to make your own tomato sauce with a Squeezo. Life, like food, tastes different when shared, somehow.