Today, I attended a memorial service for a young woman I have known for several years. Although we were not close, it was obvious to me that she possessed “joie de vivre” – intelligence, vivaciousness and vibrancy – she had a most engaging smile. I came to find out, though, that it was much more than simple joy, she lived life through her faith. She was a life time member of a congregation that encircled her and provided the foundation for that faith. Her family was her rock and set a wonderful example. She lived that example, and she lived it well. She pursued her career, community concerns and interest in sports with talent and gusto. I wish I had known her better; I’m pleased that we shared a particular affinity to a winery that will always be in my heart. She is gone though, and much too soon, in this mortal’s opinion; she was only 39. We don’t get to choose when we come into this world, or when we leave it. We can, though, develop a faith that will help us through our lives and provide us the ability to face whatever comes after – she had that faith. The service in her honor was beautiful, one that was much more uplifting than many I’ve attended. Death comes to all, but it is not the end. Jodi, you will be missed by those of us left in this world, and I like to believe that you are in a much better place
Indeed, as I am accumulating many more years (fortunately,) the ones of my youth are further and further recessed in the files of memory. However, one has resurfaced. For this, I thank a high school teacher – a journalist, an English teacher, annual staff advisor, friend. We reconnected via a social network. What a blessing. Anyway, most recently she wrote on her blog about a trip to New Hampshire, this hit a memory cord – thus, I am recalling my time spent in Vermont.
Just after high school graduation, my family and I moved north. First to Michigan, then to Vermont. We spent a longer time in Vermont, and my memories are much more pleasant of that state and that time. We moved in the fall – the air was sparkling and clear – the temperature most pleasant. We stayed in a local motel for a short period, and then we were able to find an apartment. I felt a little at loss since I didn’t have to register for any school, so I spent my time accompanying my mother doing household stuff. We weathered a winter (with two feet of snow and 20° below temperature.) Then, in the late spring, I found a job working for the YMCA day camp. While a counselor at this Y, I made a few friends. One weekend several of us got together to hike up a mountain called Mount Mansfield – this was the tallest in the Green Mountain chain. Not as tall as many mountains, but nonetheless, tall for that part of the world. When observed from an east or west vantage, the profile of the mountain looks like that of a long face – the chin is the highest portion. We hiked on one of the four trails, probably to the chin, since the trail was mostly under trees. It was a very lovely summer day – only slightly warm, the air was fresh with a slight pungency of composting undergrowth for seasoning. I’m thinking I was really naive about hiking, so I admit to a lack of deportment – I feel as if I complained all the way up. Huffing and puffing, each footing demanded a higher and higher step and one more groan. Geesh, I remember thinking, would we ever reach the top? I don’t recall if my loud complaints were noticed, but I was not chastised for my behavior. Anyway, if it was noticed, I do hope my fellow hikers have long forgotten and forgiven my transgression.
At long last, my groaning was rewarded. Trees thinned, and soon there were none. We were now above the tree line. I do remember gasping in awe. Standing on the bedrock of mica-albite-quartz and gradually looking around me, I regretted every groan. The view from this point was wonderful – I could see New York and Lake Champlain on the west, New Hampshire on the east. The breeze gently tossed my hair, yet felt like velvet on my face. The sun gave a little more warmth. I don’t think we spent too much time on the top, as we needed to hike back down. However, it was much easier going back and I think it was partially due to the memory of what I had just seen. So, thank you Ms. G., friend and fellow blogger, for instigating my recollection.
Okay, it is really hot outside – so hot that eggs could really fry on the sidewalk – this is NOT exaggeration. Still, one needs to eat something. Because I don’t want to fire up the stove, I decided on another salad. Yesterday I had a green salad with a boiled egg added (you can boil several eggs at once without heating up the kitchen – this was done days ago.) Today I decided on a tuna salad. Truthfully, it has been a long time since I wanted a tuna salad – I used to eat it regularly, that and egg salad. My usual recipe for tuna salad includes binding it with Miracle Whip ™, one of my long time favorites. I also usually buy those single serving tuna packages – economical and smart. I had two of these packages in my pantry. Well, I prepared the other ingredients for my tuna salad, I don’t use onions, and I like a sweet/tart salad that diminishes the fishy flavor. I get the salad dressing from the fridge, it’s practically a full jar, open it and notice it looks a little more gelled then usual. Hmmmm, I wonder. Well, I mix it in with the tuna anyway and plate the salad on top of a layer of fresh baby spinach to serve it with slices of paired apple and a slice of whole grain English muffin. This looked yummy. First taste, not so good! Flavor off, a bit flabby, not tart, but stale. Hmmm, well, I looked at the jar of salad dressing, squinted my eyes and was finally able to read the ‘use by’ date – it indicated that particular jar should have been used by June 2014!!!! Good grief, I say to myself, ummm, no wonder it is stale in flavor. Geesh! Although refrigerated, nothing should be expected to be that good that far past its shelf life! I hadn’t realized that I hadn’t had a desire for tuna salad in that length of time. (Mind you, the tuna’s expiration date was not until the end of this year!) I hate waste, I’m sorry I bought such a large jar. I will see if a smaller jar is available – maybe I’ll buy one, maybe not. I just don’t use that kind of salad dressing that often any more. And, I’ve now discovered that tuna, with a good helping of sweet pickle relish and chopped apple, is pretty durn good without the extra salad dressing. So went my lunch preparations today. A glass of chardonnay made the “medicine” go down a bit better!
There was not too much travel in 2009, however in May of that year, I was lucky to take a short trip to the west coast with my daughter – we had a good flight, but a cool rainy day arrival. After touching down at SEATAC airport, the schlepping of luggage from baggage claim was even greater than expected – up an escalator, up in an elevator, down an elevator to a car rental van pick-up area, over to the rental place………anyway, so began a lovely trip. The mountains (Cascades) that we drove through were still covered with snow. Breathtaking! When arriving at our final destination three hours from landing at SEATAC, the little Bed & Breakfast in apple country was slightly less than expected. Still, the proprietor was lovely and we had a huge room; apple trees surrounded the property. The day after arrival, we visited several wineries in the Yakima Valley (one of Washington State’s AVAs.) Oh joy, lots of food, good wine, and lots of driving with a few directional challenges. It was nice to come back to our little B&B. The following day, after a fabulous breakfast, we returned to Seattle, armed with good driving directions to our Seattle hotel provided by a couple staying at our B&B. We found The Inn at Queen Ann with no difficulty. Here was an old building, circa 1928, once used as a dormitory for nuns (no elevator – fortunately we were only on the second floor.) Once settled in the quaint but adequate room with kitchenette, we walked the area, the water front, and studied the bus route. The waterfront area became well known as we traversed it again on Saturday on the way to Pier 52 for the ferry to Bainbridge Island. Once on Bainbridge, we visited with a friend I had not seen in years and had a totally lovely lunch. I adored the ferry ride. The next day we spent in Woodinville, a few miles northeast of Seattle, visiting several boutique wineries in that area. Truly lovely! Our favorite was Novelty Hill/Januik Winery housed in a contemporary building with a lovely patio – we stopped here twice. On Monday, we walked the city central, Pike’s Market, and visited Seattle Public Library (One wonderful place, only five years old at the time; built with lots of glass, steel and sustainable material. Their book return conveyor belt was fascinating. They were using RFID.) At any rate, it was hard to leave Seattle – and yes, because it definitely wasn’t easy getting a traveling companion up before 5:00 a.m. to get to the airport! (Good thing we did leave early, since we had to return the car, and then get to the gate schlepping luggage via elevators and escalators!) Seattle, hope to visit again!