Sometimes the distress call arrives quietly in an ordinary email.
“Hey Amy. Hope all is well with you. I would love to get together with you for coffee or just to talk. I lost my mother on July 17th… I have my condo up for sale and am looking for another job. Lots of changes…”
It caught me off-guard and I wasn’t sure how to respond to this friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Sending a somber condolence note would be proper, but it would take several days to arrive and felt too impersonal. I couldn’t attend the funeral; that had already taken place more than a month ago, nearly 1,000 miles away.
I clicked the “reply” button.
“Want to come eat with me tonight? I’ve got salmon, feta, spinach and pasta. Also wine!”
“Yes, I would love to come eat with you tonight,” she answered.
A few hours later she arrived, bringing a photo album full of pictures of her mom as a young woman. We pored over the photos, examining the clothing, hairstyles and makeup. The dark lips and demure expressions! Years younger then than we are now, how did our mothers manage to convey such confidence and elegance, something we never quite believe we’ve attained? It remains a mystery.
During dinner we chatted about everything that concerns most everyone these days: jobs and health-care and the economy. But we also gabbed about plenty of things that delight us: travel and books, art and fashion. And we laughed – a lot.
As hard as it is to lose someone you love, that loss can bring out a real appreciation of the now that’s otherwise easy to overlook.
For dessert we devoured the homemade fruit compote my friend had baked, topped with ice cream. Even in her bereavement she wanted to bring something to the table for us to share.
Her mom would be proud.
- Olive oil
- A clove of sliced garlic
- A few thin slices of onion
- Fresh spinach or other greens, cleaned and roughly chopped; a handful or two
- Salmon filet, about 3/4 pound
- Splash or two of soy sauce, wine, broth or combination
In a heavy sauté pan over medium flame, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan but don’t allow it to smoke. Add the garlic and onions and cook until they start to brown. Add the chopped greens and cook until they are just wilted.
Place the salmon face down (skin side up) onto the vegetables and cook uncovered about 5 minutes. Add the liquid, then using a metal spatula carefully flip the fish over. Cover and allow the steam from the liquid to finish cooking the fish, about 5 minutes or until the flesh is no longer translucent. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve chilled atop salad greens.