It’s the start of a new week and we have a 10-day forecast of sunny days and mid-70s to low-80s for temperatures. I love summers in the Pacific Northwest!
I’m excited to be able to have dinner this evening with a dear friend, and some of her family. Evelyn and I have known one another for about 17 years, having met when I became her Tupperware lady.
She is about 15 years older than me. I can never remember what her age is, as her spirit is so much younger. And we came from very different walks of life. Nonetheless, there was never any mistake that we developed a wonderful friendship.
Evelyn is one of those people you meet in this world who adopts others as her family, as I’ve been known to adopt stray animals. I suppose I was one of the “strays” she brought in and fed from time-to-time. No matter what was happening, she and her husband opened up up their hearts and home to people who would stop by.
Oh, how I miss stopping in and smelling a pot of butter beans cooking with smoked pork on the stove! But no matter what was in the pot, we had our ritual. It was often on a Sunday, but it could have been any day.
I drove up into the driveway and her husband, Bob, was in his garage puttering around with something. He greeted me and I found my way through the garage and into the kitchen. Evelyn would be in the kitchen or the living room. We hugged and then talked, always finding ways to banter about age, character flaws, and about whatever else we could find to tease one another .
At some point, I made my way to the pot on the stove, lifted the cover, grabbed the spoon, and stirred the pot, making sure I tasted whatever it was for spices. And Evelyn always asked, “Do you want to stay for dinner?” I always did.
I wasn’t the only one she fed. There were several who would come and go like family on-the-run. It was a mix of people from all ages, colors and creeds.
Some would stand at the counter and eat; others would find a chair at the kitchen table to eat and have a chat over a bite to eat. Bob was usually the last to fix himself something to eat, and would take his plate to the living room to eat while watching television in his recliner. There was always enough for everyone. And there was always enough leftover for Bob to take his lunch the next day to work.
For many years, the ritual played out in very much the same way. There was comfort in knowing that some things didn’t change.
The last time Evelyn and I saw each other was in the spring of 2004, when I drove a U-Haul with her household goods from Tacoma to San Antonio. Her husband, Bob, had passed away a couple months earlier and she wanted to move “home” to Texas. Though we’ve kept in touch somewhat through the occasional e-mail and phone call, it’s going to be nice to have some face-to-face time with her.
Evelyn has been more than a friend over the years. She has been a mother, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and a friend…all wrapped up in one. We’ve shared a lot of laughter, and many tears. We saw each other through some of the toughest of life’s challenges, and enjoyed many joyous, celebratory moments.
Most of all, we’ve shared our hearts and souls, and loved and accepted one another even when we disagreed.
And though tonight I won’t be lifting a cover to stir any butter beans and ham hocks, I’m sure that Evelyn and I will both be “stirring up the pot” with our friendly pokes and jabs at one another, making up for the past six years.