EEEWWWW!

Now, I love honey.  I like it on toast, I make a wonderful bread with it, many desserts use it.  It has been around for more than eight thousand years, that we know of.  It was used to coat wounds on the battlefield! (Not recently, that I know of) Jars of it have been found in Pharaohs’ tombs and it was still viable! Yep, Honey is popular stuff.  But did you know . . .

Many years ago, I was invited to a Chinese New Year dinner. It was in Chinatown and very few people there spoke English. I was lucky enough to be seated beside a woman who did speak English. And it was a fascinating trip through each course.  She warned me early on that there would be many courses.  And while each offering was delectable, I did pace myself. This kind woman answered all my questions about the food I was eating. I was curious.  As one of the few Occidentals at the table I’m sure many of my questions were amusing. And then came the soup course.

It was delicious. Since the waiter had given me this soup using Chinese to identify it, I didn’t have a clue what it was. So, I turned to my dinner companion. She asked if I was enjoying it, to which I replied emphatically: yes!  It was at this point that she got an odd look on her face, smiled and said “I’ll tell you later”. Now my nature is one that does not backdown from curiosity. I wanted to know. She explained that if she told me, I would stop eating it. I put my spoon down, thought about it for a moment, took another sip and said no, I want to know. That’s how I found out it was called Bird’s Nest Soup. What does that actually mean you ask? Oh, let me explain…

My companion told me that actual bird’s nests are boiled to extract the saliva that holds the nest together. The effluents, feathers and other detritus are, hopefully, boiled off. What you’re left with is the stock for the soup. I thought about it for a moment. Smiled. Took another mouthful and said:  Bird Spit Soup, I like it! I have since watched documentaries on how this particular soup is made and it does look disgusting.  I would eat it again in a second!

I don’t know why I starting wondering about honey. But I did read up on it. Honey is basically churned up in the stomach of one bee, vomited into the mouth of another and then deposited on the honeycombs. That is what we collect and put on our toast in the morning. Yum!

But hey, none of that matters. Isn’t it all about taste? And what about that famous coffee from Asia that gains its exotic flavour after having passed through the intestines of a civet cat? And you wonder why I drink tea?

 

He Nudged Me

 

 

I was lost

And so unsure

I felt I was adrift.

 

What is right

And who is wrong

Choices must be made.

 

And then He nudged me.

 

I took a path

I did not know

And wondered at the time.

 

I heard words

And voices raised

In honour of a man.

 

I saw a light

Soft and clear

That beckoned in my mind.

 

It was His light

That I followed

And now the choice is clear.

 

All because He nudged me.

 

A Single Cardboard Box

Eloise sat back in her chair and sighed.   This would be her final move. It was a hard one, leaving so much behind. But it was time. She thought about her husband of 61 years, Elliot. He’d been gone for a while now but she was managing. He’d always loved that about her:  her ability to adapt.

Hands clasped loosely on her lap, legs demurely crossed at the ankle. She had been taught to be a lady but she also knew when not to be. Something else Elliott loved about her.  She smiled to herself. As she raised her head her eyes caught the single cardboard box resting on the edge of the bed.  How is it possible for 92 years to fit inside one single box?

There were so many memories. Dipping her toes into three oceans over her lifetime. That midnight buffet on the cruise ship. The smile became a chuckle as she remembered poor Elliot looking for his shoes in a strange motel after a very long night. He eventually found them in the refrigerator! They had laughed all the way to Albuquerque. Good memories.

There were camping trips with four active and insatiably curious children. And then the children’s children, there seemed to be so many of them. She remembered the strange noises a sleeping child makes and the wild-eyed wonder when they saw something for the first time. Learning to read, learning to walk, learning to slow down. That was always the hard one. But they did it together. Eloise and Elliot. It had lovely ring to it. What a great partnership they had. And that partnership didn’t die when he did. She slept with a pair of his gloves under her pillow. He was never far from her.

She relaxed a little more in the chair, resting her tired shoulders. And she cast her mind back over her 92 years. She had earned her rest. Her memories of her childhood were all good. She’d had loving parents who had taught her to love the world and to respect what it had to offer. She had grown up with wonderful pets who had taught her humility and selflessness. She had friends who taught her the art of compromise and acceptance and French kissing. Yes, she had learned how to laugh early.  And she laughed often.  She had reason.

They had traveled the world together. Elliott was a wonderful traveler. Except for the shoes.  When the children had come along they too were initiated into that world. First traveling near at home and then farther and farther as they grew older and more capable of appreciating it. And then they too caught the bug. The world was theirs to explore.

As time inexorably moved on so did the children. And then she and Elliot rediscovered the wonders of each other. It was like a second honeymoon and they had enjoyed it for many years. Oh, the children came back to visit. In the beginning it was quite often but as their lives became more and more complicated, that too dwindled off.  That was to be expected.

Most of the children and grandchildren made it back for Elliot’s funeral. It was good to see them, to get reacquainted. But they had their own lives to get back to and in time Eloise was again alone.  That was okay. She had much to occupy her. She had quite a vibrant social life and plenty of friends to keep her company. But there were adjustments. She moved to a condominium and hired a cleaning service. There were even a few male companions who were interested in more than just companionship. They were proper gentlemen when she refused. Her heart still belonged to Elliot. Besides he hadn’t been gone that long. But it was nice to have a man around to escort her to a dance.

The box caught her eye once again. It seem to beckon to her and to mock her. It was her box of treasures, precious memories, tokens worth more than any precious jewel ever could be. A single tear escaped her eye.  She felt sad and more than a little proud. She wondered about the next step in her life. What was still to come? She closed her eyes.

 

*********************************************************************

 

The door burst open! A tall, young; man, strode aggressively into the room.

“Where the hell is the damn thing?”

A few seconds behind him an equally tall woman sashayed into the room somewhat less aggressively.

“They said it was on the end of the bed and you could pick it up at your leisure.  I think it’s important. What do you plan on doing with it?”

The man became a little less forceful as he spotted the single cardboard box just where he had been told it would be.

“It’s just some old trinkets. What possible value could it have? “

 

 

the end