Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Always Daddy's Funny Valentine"

     I just had the sweetest   flash of memory cross my mind this Valentines’ Day about my Dad.   Growing up my Dad was not the kind who hugged and kissed you. It was even hard for him to say he loved you.  I remember at night saying Love You and Mom saying Alfred say “I Love You back.”   Truly I never felt that he didn’t love me because the words didn’t come easily. He showed it every day in his actions.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I would always be safe with him and taking care of.  Really security for a child shows true love. 

    On Valentine’s Day morning I would get up and waiting at both mine and Mom’s place at the table would be a beautiful heart shaped box full of chocolate candies.  The boxes would have lace and flowers on it and I thought there was nothing to compare to how pretty they were.  Looking back it wasn’t that they were filled with candy that made them so special. It was more that my box said I was SPECIAL and   even if I wasn’t in school yet this made me feel so very grown up.  This tradition continued after I was married and showed that no matter how old you are you will always be Daddy’s Little Valentine.

   The first man in my life was my Dad and I used him to measure the rest I would meet along life’s journey.    I’m lucky to have met and   marry   a man that shows me every day that he loves me not only with words but actions.   As a bonus my Dad not only loves my new Valentine but likes him as well. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Are You The Okra In Life's Gumbo

With Mardi Gras upon
us I have been thinking about Gumbo.
What a distinctive dish full of unique flavors. I have enjoyed gumbo many times and must say I
don’t think I have ever had it the same way twice. Each person who makes this dish has their own
special ingredients. Some use roux, other file gumbo but okra is the ingredient
that I encounter most often that provides gumbo the thickness it requires. To be honest I don’t really care for okra. Let’s face it there is slime in the pods and
the seeds are huge. There has to be
something to hold all the ingredients together so I put up with the okra
because without it, you don’t have Gumbo.
It occurred to me that
every day we go out into the world a part of our own Gumbo. We meet different people and gather in
groups. We all have different places in
this recipe and often that place changes. Some are the doers, others are the organizers,
the cheer leaders……………..the list could go on and on with infinite possibilities. Sometimes in the group there is a person who
really just annoys you. They might say inappropriate things, be loud, and cause
drama. Basically, something they do just gets on your nerves. When you talk to others, they feel the same
way and you know it is not just you. Then
one day that person is not in the group anymore and you think OK now the group
will be calmer and things will move smoother.
Sometimes that is not what happens but instead the group falls
apart. No one is sure why the group has
stopped working it just has. Like okra,
they just had this strange ability to thicken the bonds of everyone in that
situation. When they are absent, you go
from gumbo to just soup.
So next time you are
in the Big Melting Pot of life, look around and see what each unique flavor
each person brings. Just like Gumbo not
everyone can be the shrimp or andouille sausage and
somebody has to be the okra. Without that gooey slimy vegetable, there would be nothing to thicken the mix and
bond the rest.