A taste from the past


Little things matter.

I’m reminded of this just about every time I rinse a dirty plate before putting it in — or next to — the kitchen sink. Maintaining this degree of considerateness is on the list of goals I’ve resolved in the New Year to accomplish in 2017.


Janet is worth it for hundreds of reasons. She’d be worth it if only for one little thing she did for me. Like nearly everyone else, the past couple of weeks have been hectic — Christmas, New Year’s, Janet’s daughter home from college for break, traveling, parties, food, more food and a first-time visit from an important guest. For Janet, among other things, all of this meant fixing a ham for our Christmas dinner on December 26, Paella for dinner one night last week and lasagna (from an old family recipe) on the night that important visitor joined us for dinner.

Janet’s plates were full — literally and figuratively. Even still, she found time to take the bone from that Christmas ham and take me back to my childhood. I’ve been reminiscing all week as I’m still eating the leftover ham and beans and cornbread. (That may not be the only thing I’ve been doing all week, but that’s a story for another day. Thank goodness for having an office with a door.)

Cornbread and beans have long been a staple for Americans whose lives are pretty far removed from a gilded penthouse in Manhattan. The oldest of four kids, I grew up in the 1970s and ’80s on a hilly farm in south central Iowa, where we raised cattle and hogs. So we ate plenty of pork. And Mom frequently served up ham and beans for supper — especially in the winter. (And did I mention it was 4 degrees here today?)

But to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I’d eaten ham and beans prior to this week. I’d forgotten how good it is. And it’s never a bad thing to be reminded of the good things from your life 40 years ago. Janet couldn’t have given me a better gift for Christmas even if she did serve it up a few days late.

I’m going to keep rinsing my dirty plates because it’s the right thing to do, but future pots of ham and beans would be a great incentive to help keep me on track.

Musical accompaniment for this post: