Several nights a week, I go to my parents’ house to have coffee with my dad and my grandmother, who will turn 96 years young next month. At that advanced age, she is definitely not who she used to be. She can carry on a conversation with me only once in a great while, and at times it’s difficult to understand what she is saying. But that’s OK with me. We can still talk about the old days occasionally, and I can vividly remember a lot of things, the way they used to be. To me, it’s reflection. About how great that part of life was and how it can influence what’s to come.
My grandmother operated a restaurant for a good part of her life. Even when she wasn’t working, the preparation of food for her family was a central part of her day. Therefore, she lived in her kitchen. And when I went to her house (which was often), that’s where I hung out. Not in the TV room, or living room. In the kitchen. At the kitchen table. To get my daily dose of “Life is precious” (her favorite saying), and to hear about which saint to pray to when you needed something found, or something done.
And to get the coffee.
There was always a pot of coffee brewing on the stove. No drip pot here, mind you. Always perking in a stainless steel espresso pot, ready to pour when it began to bubble over through the top of the pot. Even on ninety plus degree summer days when I had just finished the three hour task of mowing the vast lawn around my grandparents’ house, there was no offer of a glass of water….
Just a shout across the yard of “Joey, you want some coffee??”
If the stove did not have coffee brewing on it, there was always a pot of simmering tomato sauce, or boiling spinach, or meatballs in a pan sizzling away in their bed of olive oil—and with it an indescribable scent of a garlic/meat combo wafting through the entire house. I often woke up on a Saturday morning to that aroma, and I can still smell it right now.
Reflection is power, the power of memory. I get a charge out of reflecting on what was in the past, and how it can spur me on to create new memories, with my friends and my family. And what’s more cool than remembering in such detail that you smell the smells and hear the sounds?