Sunday, December 16, 2012
One of my favorite weekend pasttimes is hopping on the downtown 1 train and parking my bum at a seat around Helen's kitchen table for hours and talking, talking, talking. Most of you who know me already know that I am quite the talker... Well, if anyone can talk it's a smart, Irishwoman with lots to say. It's so much fun to hear Helen rant on; she's very lyrical and knows how to sprinkle in the right amount of idioms and old expressions, just as expertly as she knows how to spice her stewed tomatoes. We've made a nice tradition of this kind of weekly wisdom exchange, and it's grown into a cherished habit. It reminds me of my family in Mexico, my aunts that sit around the kitchen table for hours gossiping, analyzing, reviewing, commenting and always, always sharing the latest chapter of the saga that is their life.
Helen usually prepares Irish breakfast, some sausages and ham that her cousin brings from a special butcher in Brooklyn, soda bread with her multi-colored assortment of jams (at one breakfast she made it from scratch for us), eggs, stewed tomatoes and Dubliner cheese. Sometimes there will be a surprise, like the perfectly baked seeded bread that her German guest brought over, or a particularly fresh grapefruit juice I happened to spot. I usually storm in through her door ten minutes late, and we immediately spill whatever is the juiciest, latest news in our personal dramas, from the agonizing to the exciting. I will then calm down, offer to make myself helpful, but by then Chef Helen has everything almost exactly ready- that's how she is- and we will get to talking about every aspect of life over breakfast and we sit chatting while finishing up every last drop of tea or coffee. There's usually a book swap or at least several recommendations, or the sharing of a special article in the paper. We'll review any shows we saw that week, or announce upcoming ones with anticipation. The best part though is the general catharsis. The feeling I leave her house with each time is what I imagine someone feels like after a breakthrough therapy session.
During yesterday's chat, we were talking about the most important things in life. What do you value the most? Family? Friends? Security? We decided none of it really matters if you don't have your health. Both Helen and I run... In fact, in a way she may have been the one to plant the seed, the idea to run, in my head. She's way more advanced than I am, but we both have an important regard for it. It got me thinking... Physical maintenance is key and important, but what about emotional, mental health? We forget how easily the intangible can quickly turn physical. It's just as important and it's something friends can easily help each other balance and control. Our weekend meet ups do just that. What started out as pleasant company and wonderfully hosted, delicious breakfasts has evolved into spiritual detoxification, the wringing out of any toxic worries, insecurities or stresses, and an ongoing effort to understand, support, refresh and move forward with the day, week and life.
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