What a delightful evening. Carole Tayman and Bill Sheridan, friends from the ‘80s, were in town and came for Sunday supper. In the years when they lived two blocks or so from me, they came for Sunday supper every week. Those were the days when I sometimes had twenty people on Sunday night—my family (you had to have a really good excuse to miss Sunday supper), my brother’s family, and assorted friends. I look back and wonder that I had the energy and imagination to cook all those meals, but at the time I loved it, loved presiding over a full table. I can’t even remember many of the things I served, though I know one night when TCU Press was working on a cookbook of Texas recipes, I fixed a cornbread/hamburger/black-eyed pea dish, and my brother looked at me and asked, “Sis, is the budget the problem?”
One of the dishes I cooked was King Ranch Chicken, and when I asked Carole if there was any particular dish they remembered and wanted, that was it. She had apparently tried to follow my recipe, and it hadn’t come out right (not sure how you can go wrong with that casserole, but ….). It makes a good-sized dish, and I was looking forward to leftovers but there were none—we ended up sharing with some girls helping a friend move into my guest house for a temporary stay. Another story for another time.
But Carole, Bill, and I had the most wonderful time remembering days gone by, catching up on family and friends, nudging each other’s memories—the way Bill used to stand bouncing their daughter when she was an infant (we thought he’d have St. Vitus dance forever), the funny phone message Jamie used to leave on my phone—they called just to hear what he’d said, trips to friends’ ranch in East Texas, Sunday dinners when my brother required each of us to report on our week or tell what we were thankful for, tree trimming parties and holiday dinners. It made me realize that we had woven our lives together but now that they’ve been away for almost twenty years, we are still family.
Side note: their daughter, my goddaughter, now twenty-seven, was the first to call me Juju, the name that has stuck with most but not all of my grandchildren.
I am blessed with family and extended family and feel so fortunate.