Friends In A Deep Freeze

Mar 30, 2018

Pam was one of the best people to hang out with – so of course, the fates decided to send her away from Charlotte. A job transfer took her family to Virginia, just out of easy reach. No more spontaneous breakfasts at the pancake house. No more meet-ups for pub fare at Sir Edmond Halley’s.

While packing for the move, she invited her friends to come over and empty her freezer of anything we could use. As someone whose freezer contains nothing but ice and vodka, I failed to understand what Pam was offering. So I drove across town to say goodbye and figured I’d take a few things off her hands to be polite.

The large kitchen was in chaos. She gave me a cardboard box. “Here,” she said, handing me a frozen block of chicken. “Take these.” She slid a giant bag of ravioli into the box. A carton of blintzes. Another of something called “Yankee Bean Soup.” A vacuum-packed, smoked fish that I knew to be pricey. Three bags of grated mozzarella and several packages of cream cheese.

“You freeze cheese?” I asked.

“Of course.”

When the box was full, she topped it off with a huge zippered bag of raw, whole almonds. It felt close to 5 pounds. I took everything home. It literally filled my freezer.

And then my friend was gone. It’s not the first time this has happened; I wrote about my pals Stephanie and Marc moving to Australia and bequeathing me the contents of their kitchen a few years back. These things aren’t unusual.

So during this past winter, I defrosted and cooked and nibbled my way through Pam’s frozen larder. I devoured the entire box of blintzes one rainy night. The ravioli were surprisingly good. The soup wasn’t. I offered a little bowl of almonds to anyone who visited me, whether a friend from New York or a neighbor from down the street. And I thought of Pam every time. The bounty seemed bottomless – until last week. That’s when I noticed only a scant handful of nuts remained in the corner of the enormous bag.

And now spring has arrived.

Making friends is hard when you’re an adult. Losing friends can be even harder. Sure, it’s just 200 miles or so to Pam’s new house, but that’s not the point. Without being able to sit face-to-face over breakfast or a beer in the same hometown, it might as well be 2,000. It means we can’t make any new memories to cherish in the future.

That’s why I can’t finish off the last of those almonds. The freezer would be empty again. I now know it’s important to keep something besides ice and vodka on hand – just in case a friend may come to visit.