It is the most wonderful thing when a memory catches up with one unexpectedly. Maybe it’s the balmy summer night air or maybe it’s the sight of a box of waffle ice cream cones that sat unopened on my kitchen counter top. But, I found myself pulled into a dance that took place half a lifetime ago.
When I just started working, I had rented a room from a landlady. To keep her privacy, I will call her Mrs. C. There was no a/c in her old but cozy house and it was a particularly humid and hot summer. We would open up the windows and run the fans to their max to try dispel the heat. My favorite place in that house was her kitchen. I would watch her cook many hearty, delicious Italian meals which she shared with me most generously. In fact, she was the one who introduced me to white clam linguine. Before that, I had foolishly thought that all pasta dishes were doused in tomato sauce. She called the white clam linguine the easiest pasta dish to prepare and thanks to her, I have prepared it many times for my own family. Dinners with her and her husband, Mr. C, were always followed by ice cream cones.
There was only one flavor to be found in Mrs. C’s freezer. It was her favorite, the butter pecan. I was sitting atop her kitchen counter, savoring the cold, sweet buttery cream mixed with the nutty richness of pecans when she asked me if I knew any ballroom dance. I told her I could dance a basic Waltz and that was really the only ballroom dance I knew. She told me that her favorite was the Foxtrot. She started humming a tune and started moving her feet to the music echoing in her heart. She closed her eyes for just a little bit, as if to will her cherished memory to take hold. Her steps were light and almost giddy. Just as I was about to clap my hands, she took my hand and started dancing with me. She continued to hum and dance while I clumsily, albeit, delightedly, tried to match her steps. Much laughter filled the weathered little kitchen that night and for much of the summer months that I stayed with her.
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
Theodor Seuss Geisel
Last year, I learned that Mrs. C had passed away. We, unfortunately, had lost touch a while back and I am not sure if I ever told her how grateful I am for everything she did for me. I know regrets are futile but oh, how I wish I had reached out to her. She was a friend and a mother to me during my short stay with her, giving me comfort and advice when I needed them. I hope she knew how much she meant to me and how much I treasure my memory of our time together. I will never forget her kindness and the fun we had.
Have your memories caught up with you lately too? I would love to hear from you.