5.16.2010

Lost and Found


I can’t tell but I think I lost something. Well, I’m not sure if I ever actually had it, but I’m pretty sure it’s gone now anyway. Maybe I’ll find it. Hell, I hope so. I guess I didn’t know I even wanted it that much until I lost it. I hope I didn’t accidentally throw it away.

When I was a little girl I had Weeble Wobbles. I even had the Weeble Wobble Tree House. Jealous much? I loved them. One day I got one of my Weeble Wobbles caught in the drain of the bathtub. I guess it caused a pretty major issue because I don’t remember ever getting that Weeble Wobble back. Perhaps I underestimated my Weeble Wobble. I didn’t give it credit for its strength and ability to affect change, and for this it left. I lost my Weeble Wobble forever.

There have been quite a few times that I thought I lost money, anywhere from a $1 to a $20 bill. I really wasn’t aware that anything was missing. Maybe I was for a minute, but I would usually assume I spent it on something or another and quickly forgot about the matter. Then, days or weeks later I would find a crumply, dried bill in the dryer. It’s like striking gold! Yes, maybe it was already mine and then I lost it, but forgetting about it, assuming it’s found another home, in some other pocket or some cash register somewhere, and then realizing it never left is very exciting. I took it for granted and then it gave me a second chance. It was testing me and I passed.

Sometimes I have a very precious thing that I will lend to someone or leave with someone: my favorite cookbook, signed by the author, or my baking stone, given to me as a Christmas gift from someone special, a really good pair of jeans, or just some Tupperware I sent someone home with food in at some point. I always assume this thing will find its way back to me though it may take weeks or years. More often than not this is the case. The risk however, in the approach of if you love something set it free, is that it very may well find happiness, its home elsewhere.

The most extreme case of this was one of my more personal photography books that I sent to a magazine I respected and wanted to shoot for. The protocol is to send it back once it has been viewed. I never got it back. That was 8 years ago. Sad but a reality nonetheless. I like to think the world opens up a notch when that thing and the person or place that it has found and vice versa have found each other. I figure that whoever saw my book was so impressed and touched by it that they wanted, or needed, to keep it. I like to think it sits on their coffee table and has been oohed and ahhed over by many people over the years. That it has inspired. It still loves me, in its way. But I was merely a vehicle to allow it to move on to its true role, its real place in this world. I was sad for a while. We will never forget each other. But such is life.

Something so crazy just happened while I have been writing this. Remember the thing I thought I lost, that maybe I threw away? I found it! Interestingly, it never went anywhere. It was in the same place the entire time. I just couldn’t see it. It was right behind the milk, of course. I probably should have been confident that it didn’t disappear. I think there’s even a possibility that I was a little bit nervous to find it. Maybe it had diminished. Or grown. Maybe it went bad. Maybe I wouldn’t want it anymore. But there it was, right behind that silly milk, the same as before. I never know, I may consume it too quickly, it may go bad, or hell, it could hide behind that pesky milk again. But I’m relieved to know that I didn’t lose it, or worse, callously throw it away.

The recipe I am sharing with you here is one my Grandmother, Janie, made for my dad decades ago back in Roanoke, Va. It is also a recipe my dad often made for me slightly fewer decades ago back in Richmond. I never met Janie, though we came frustratingly close. She died right before I was born. Perhaps because of all the stories I’ve heard about her, the pictures, and obviously the existence of my dad, to me she is the thing I lost but never had. But in a way, I get to find her again when I make her recipes. And when I look in the mirror.



Lima Beans in Cream & Butter

Serves 4 to 6
  • 16 ounces dried Lima beans
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 – 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Soak the beans overnight and leave them in the soaking water. Cook the Lima beans in boiling salted water for a good hour or so, until the beans are tender.
Drain well. Add the cream and butter. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Heat thoroughly. Serve hot.
 




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