When i was in the seminary back in the 60’s, we had a cute little saying, when some pretty girl passed by, “You can look at the menu, but you can’t order!” OUCH! That was a toughie!
Thanksgiving 2016 will pass me by in a similar fashion. For a year and a half now i have had the lovely plight of losing my sense of smell and taste – except on some rare occasions. While my doctors are pondering the dilemma, one of them the other day smiled and offered consolation, what with today’s FEAST upon us: “This year you must savor the sights…Feast your Eyes!” i was tempted to say, “Hey, doc, where’d ya put that scalpel!?”
ALL IN JEST! All in jest. Please pardon me, but laughter is one of the ways i deal with it, when turkey tastes like smashed potatoes, which taste just like lasagna, which tastes just like candied yams, which YUM! tastes exactly like cannolis, which – YES! – have a very similar taste to the paper plates they are on (haven’t tried them yet, but i can only imagine!!!)
BUT REALLY, FOLKS! Don’t you worry about me! Even if, as my sweet mother added, “You are the one cooking everything for everybody else to enjoy,” REALLY i am very satisfied.
Number One: i have HAD MORE THAN ENOUGH of those days when the elusive butterfly of taste landed right on me, like just last week, and i went bonkers over every morsel and every sip. i am celebrating this FEAST with PASSIONATE GUSTO!!!!!!!!!!
Number Two, which is really Number One: Although this is the Great American Holiday, the main source of my Inspiration TODAY comes from FAR ACROSS THE WORLD and from the desert of the Middle East. No, it’s not from our fine, brave soldiers (who, yes, are always on my mind, thankfully so), but it’s from a friar-priest, my dearest brother, Ichabod, who lives there, serving and loving all men, women, and children as FAMILY.
Saint Ichy, as i call him (against his wishes), he and i lived in Rome 30 years ago, studying the ways of Saint Francis of Assisi. Perhaps the most beautiful of simplicities we shared – every evening at 8 o’clock – was pasta con olio, formaggio, pane e vino.Every night the same, a bowl of pasta with oil, a block of cheese, a chunk of bread, and red red wine!! The Feast of Kings!
Ich n i went our separate ways in time, and he chose to give up most of life’s pleasures for love of his greater family – especially the VINO!!! We keep in touch, he writes me still, and he mentions with gusto the PANE e VINO, the Bread n Wine. No wine where he lives, this year he was rewarded for his labors and called back to Europe to help Pope Francis at World Youth Day, along with other pilgrimages to holy places. When he first learned of his good fortune, he admits that one of his first thoughts was that he was gonna taste the vino again!!!!!! When he arrived in Poland, he was given shelter in the home of a loving family there. As the first meal approached, he was wetting his lips and getting all excited, but as everything was placed on the table??? No Wine! What? In Europe it is the mainstay. Even the children drink it – in moderation. Ichabod didn’t want to be a pest or insult his hosts. So, when the parents left the room, he whispered to the children, “Is there any wine?”To which they laughed, and then they said, “In Poland alcoholism is such a major problem that millions like us, though we are not, we give up the wine as a sacrifice for our greater family. We don’t really need it. Love is all we need.”
St.Ichy was BLOWN AWAY, and i AM BLOWN AWAY by his telling. All of the senses, grand as they are and worthy of endless thanks, are nothing – but little tiny servants of the ONE GREAT SENSE of COMPASSION, of LOVE. LET IT BE our FEAST TODAY and EVERYDAY!
TRULY LOVE IS THE DISH THAT MATTERS. Everything else is TRIMMING. My daughter, Molly, who knows that her Daddy would be in perfect bliss with just some toast n butter (n vino or coffee) picked out this card for me today for my Birthday TOAST. She wrote, “The second I saw this, I knew it was for you, as simple as butter on a piece of toast. Thank you for helping me notice the Beauty of Simplicity. Thank you for bringing me into this scary AND WONDERFUL world!”