We watched the movie "Chef" last night on Netflix. We laughed, we cried and we went wild over the food. Without a doubt, the best film I've seen in a long time.
It made me realize how much ALS has stolen that we've had to find "work arounds" for. Like cooking. I did virtually all the cooking in our house. It was a form of relaxation for me. I would come home, duck my head in the fridge and cupboards (if I hadn't stopped at the store to buy food with a menu in mind) and whip up whatever struck my fancy. The fall back was always Paśta Puttanesca (Hooker's Paśta, a dish the Italian ladies of the evening would make for American GI's from easily available ingredients). Linguine, Callamatta olives, fresh garlic, onions or shallots, basil, capers, fresh plum tomatoes and whatever else we might have around like roasted red peppers. Everything is chopped up and goes in a big sautée pan with EVO. Tomatoes and little white wine go in last to make it a bit "saucy". Some freshly ground pepper, organo, thyme and the cooked linguine gets tossed in. A loaf of fresh Italian bread from Botto's bakery to soak up the sauce, a bottle of wine and freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and you're done. Total time about 30 minutes.
Linda's Facebook post last night struck me, not only at how much ALS has taken, but how God has replaced everything with an appreciation of the little things I used to do without thinking - like looking in a mirror. I miss the smell of fresh cut grass I would clean from under the deck of the mower. The feel of icy stream water rushing past the legs of my fly fishing waders. And yes, even the smell of trash as I'd bundle it up and carried it the 150 feet up our driveway to the roadside.
Fly fishing, hiking, camping, cooking (at home and over an open fire), golfing, coaching kids and my work were all passions. ALS has stolen those but it's made me rediscover how head over heels in love I am with my wife, how gracious our God is and the importance of giving back no matter what your circumstances.
Much like main character in "Chef", Linda and I have had to discard some things we once thought important and we've reinvented our relationship and the way we live life. We've discovered that nothing is permanent in this life. But that's not a bad thing. Smell the roses, kiss the one you love (while you can still pucker - I can't:/) and savor each moment as if it won't come again. Bon appetite.