I had a request from a reader of this blog for Keith's toffee recipe. (Which, by the way, made $50 for our retreat scholarship fund at our Christmas Tea!)
Well, Rachel's tasted it before. A couple of years ago, I flew out to her place for a retreat with some other wise women, and we visited the absolutely amazing Art Institute of Chicago.
We saw breathtaking art like Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and Caillebotte's Rainy Day, Paris Street.
Keith had made bags of toffee for each of the women who attended, and Laura was smart enough to take hers to the museum to keep her appetite in check while our stomachs rumbled in hunger.
I found myself remembering their enjoyment of Keith's toffee, our shared awe over the Chagall windows, the huge Seurat, the ancient St. George and the Dragon (my personal favorite), our viewing Ferris Bueller's Day Off that night, which of course features a visit to the same art museum we had visited that day. The wonderful food served to us, the scintillating conversations, the time alone for Carol and I to study Scriptures and pray together face-to-face after doing an online Bible study for weeks -- all these memories came flooding back as I typed the recipe for Rachel.
Faces and voices came to mind -- Julie's, Laura's, Carol's, Lisa's -- along with memories of Rachel's garden and green rolling acres, of a walk around Rachel's neighborhood while she pushed my wheelchair, of the long train ride to the museum and discovering exactly why Chicago is called "The Windy City" as the "El" rumbled over our heads and our hair was blown across our faces.
I remembered the rude ladies who pushed onto the bus ahead of my wheelchair after we had waited and waited for transportation after visiting the museum. I remembered gathering ourselves around Rachel's table, with salmon steaming and conversation flowing. I remembered watching The Importance of Being Earnest on the couch with Rachel's youngest as Rachel attended to laundry and tidying up before everyone else arrived. I remember gathering around on Rachel's back porch, husking corn while chatting and laughing.
It's amazing what a simple request for a recipe can do to one's memory.