I suppose I have always been lucky …
My family & friends say I that mis-remember a lot
of my past. And maybe that’s true — for some things.
But there are also places & people that I will never forget.
Such as growing up in a ginger-bread house,
or the Man with No Bones.
And, one thing in particular, my moms peculiar way
of setting the dinner table.
For as long as I can remember, my mother always set
the table with two sets of identical salt & pepper shakers.
Seems trivial, I know.
But we were only a family of four.
And it made little difference if only two or three of us
were eating that night. My mother would still place, on
the table, two sets of identical
salt & pepper shakers.
I recall one day having to stay home from school
due to a high fever.
My dad rolled in the TV set so I could watch
cartoons, and my mom brought in a tray
of my favorite foods: Spaghetti O’s & a side of
And on the tray … two sets of identical
salt & pepper shakers.
I think that may have been the first time I
questioned it. But only to myself.
Otherwise, I said nothing …
And the seasons passed, and the years went by
and we all got a little bit older and a little bit wiser.
And through it all there was but one constant,
and you may have all ready guessed it.
It was my mom setting the table with two sets
of identical salt & pepper shakers.
Still I said nothing …
Until last week, when I went to visit my mother at
the Home of the Very Age-ed. She and I sat in her
small room & reminisced about family members who
had long ago passed on. And then, finally, after an hour or so
of light conversation, I gathered up the nerve
to ask her the question that had nagged me for so many years.
Why — Why did you always set the table with two sets of
identical salt & pepper shakers?
My mother closed her eyes as if in deep thought.
And a strange, other-worldy calmness seemed to
suddenly pour over her entire being.
Finally, she opened her eyes.
I leaned in close so as not to miss a word.
Said my mother,
“One set of the identical
salt & pepper shakers, my son … was poison!”
Per the Trefological calendar, to-day, February the 1st, is officially the beginning of the new year.
So, from all of me to some of you, I want to wish you a happy new y’ar.
Your friend (in life)