The Perfect Recipe

There was cause for celebration last week as the Blue Lake stalks reached the top of the pole – not that we don’t have enough to revel in already, what with the engagements of both daughters and a niece.

Within the next four months we’ll have a wedding reception, a wedding shower, and a wedding and reception here at the house.  I love that we’ll have fresh vegetables soon, and that we’ll have no more bellyaching about unfinished projects – they’ll have to get done, and soon.

With all the company coming this summer, a big topic of concern is what to serve.  Working as a volunteer with the San Clemente Community Market has helped me become even more aware of the importance of nourishment as it relates to human communing.  I see more clearly how, far too often, busy life gets in the way of our partaking in the proper care and feeding of both the body and soul.  So, when I woke up at 2:23AM this morning, tossing and turning because my stomach hurt, I wondered if it was something I ate or because we’ve so much to do.  A little bit of both, I suppose, but triggered memories soon soothed the knot as the list of ingredients I needed for an old recipe came to mind…

My Aunt Margo always had the most beautiful vegetable garden – and apple and apricot and citrus trees.  She and Uncle Ted and my cousins lived in a tract house on the road to Monterey from Salinas.  Their back yard faced grassy rolling hills and there was a wide sandy drainage wash cutting across the far end inside the back fence.  A huge shade tree near the house hung its branches over a rock fountain that trickled cool water into a small pond for fish, though the possums and raccoons always kept their numbers down.  And beyond the tree, before you got to the wash, was a great expanse of sun-lit ground.  The perfect spot to grow just about anything you wanted.

At least once a year our family would visit and we usually got to help with canning and quilting and we’d all go sightseeing up the coast, the car packed with kids, usually after we’d already camped at Refugio or before heading to Yosemite.

The one thing I’ll never forget about Aunt Margo and our magical visits was her green beans.  She grew the best green beans on earth.  That’s probably why I always get so excited when blossoms appear on the bean stalks in our miniature plot of heaven.  It reminds me of how much I love fresh-from-the-garden food, and how precious time is when it’s spent with the people I love.

Will our guests notice if the bedroom doesn’t get a fresh coat of paint?  Maybe not, especially when we distract them with a heaping serving of the recipe I learned from my mom and her sisters:

Sprinkle a warm and inviting environment with fresh flowers
Stir in as much family, friends, and food as will comfortably fit
Then hug and talk and toast until done.

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