This little fellow came to me from a package of Red Rose tea many years ago. His home has been on the windowsill above my kitchen sink when I had one, and these days he sits on the counter behind my sink.
Once upon a time I had small collection of similar little figurines but this little guy is the only one I have left. He is the only tangible thing that has had a prominent place in each of the six houses I’ve lived in since I left my parent’s home when I was eighteen-years-old. I intend on keeping him for the rest of my life.
He’s stood watch as I’ve prepared, conservatively, over seventy-five turkey dinners. He’s been there during the lean years when I fretted over how to feed my family. He sat quietly by the sink during the difficult years when I lived alone and eschewed meal preparation for one in favor of take-out meals grabbed hastily on the way home from the office.
He reminds me of my mom who let me take him, and the rest of the one-time menagerie, from her boxes of tea. He reminds me of my kids who used to call him Bobby because he has similar coloring to our family dog whose name was also Bobby. I can’t wait for my grandchildren to get to know him when we move back to Canada and they’re able to spend lots of time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
As I stood in the kitchen today preparing a light lunch I smiled at the ingredients on the counter top–a low-carb tortilla, red pepper hummus, matchstick baby carrots, kale, and goat cheese–and thought about the variety of ingredients that have passed in front of this little figurine over the years.
Once upon a time lunch was often Kraft Dinner because the kids loved it and it was inexpensive. I sometimes got creative and added mushrooms, sour cream, or spaghetti sauce for variety. Campbell’s Soup was another staple: either mushroom or tomato with enough crushed crackers to give it the consistency of stew. Grilled cheese sandwiches were a favorite, as were open faced sandwiches with bubbling cheese and fresh-picked tomatoes on top during summer months. Sometimes I’d just fill our plates with an assortment of cut up fruit, cheese, pickles, and crackers and we’d have a picnic in the front yard.
Twenty-five years ago I had never even heard of hummus or kale and I couldn’t have imagined cutting up carrots into tiny matchsticks and wrapping them up inside of a tortilla. Now this is a healthy lunch I enjoy and can envision making for the grandchildren when they’re over.
I can’t help but think about what other gastronomic surprises my little Bobby will witness from his place on my kitchen counter in the years to come; and I wonder if, one day when I’m gone, he’ll find a new home in the kitchen of my daughter and granddaughter and witness the preparation of meals I can’t even imagine today.