It’s been a tough week here at the Lake, but we’ve all weathered it together. This morning is a celebration for Jane, for her mother Greta, and for Jane’s family — both her biological family and all of her FDL family. In times of trouble, times of joy, times of sorrow…families gather together to mark the milestones of their lives.
Jane and I had a long conversation on Thursday evening about her mom and the week that we both had with its roller coaster ups and downs, and I told her we were planning a "family potluck" for this morning as a way of everyone coming together to honor her mom. Jane told me that Greta was an amazing cook — that she was always taking care of her family and friends with some amazing dish or another.
Greta, it seems, loved to travel, and one of her greatest joys was to scout out some amazing restaurant for a fantastic meal. I picture in my mind’s eye Jane and her mom at some trattoria on the side of a mountain in Tuscany over gnocci or pignoli cookies and espresso; or at some out of the way bistro in Paris for steak frites or coq au vin or some version of cassoulet or one of those amazing caramelized apple tarte tatins; or some diner in the middle of nowhere in rural Oklahoma for a patty melt or a slice of mile high coconut cream pie with fluffy meringue and an endless cuppa coffee and some great conversation.
And although I weep for Jane’s loss, I also feel a sense of joy that she and her sister, Pam, had the gift of being with their mother — to hold her hands, to brush back her hair, to do all those little things that you do with someone you love with all your heart, in her last hours. And I know that Greta had to feel that love radiating from both of them — because I can hear it in Jane’s voice every time we speak about her mother.
Jane tells me that Greta read cookbooks like novels, devouring the recipes and the descriptions and travel information and everything else as most people do with a pulp fiction book. I can relate to that — in my mind and heart, there is nothing that connects us more than what we do to feed our souls, and one of the ways we all do that is by caring for our families and friends by nourishing their bodies with good food, and nourishing their spirits likewise with good company and a lot of laughs and tears and comfort.
So, pull up a chair…this morning we celebrate Greta together, as a family.
(I found this beautiful photograph at an online exhibit of photographs of childhood from the Library of Congress. Some gorgeous ones here, and it felt appropriate for this morning in so many ways.)