If we’re lucky, we eat three meals a day. Most of them routine, not special in any way. A piece of toast for breakfast. A salad from the deli for lunch. The old family recipe tuna casserole for dinner.
But can you bring to mind a meal you will never forget? A dinner that stands out in your mind as special and unforgettable because of some atmosphere, or circumstance, or food that imprinted the experience for life?
My number one memorable meal happened during my honeymoon.
Before our marriage we often listened to an audio cassette (this was the 1980s) a friend of ours had brought as a gift from South American travels. We loved the wooden pan flute music of the band, Akary.
One evening during our honeymoon we dined at a restaurant high on a Puerta Vallarta mountainside. We ate Chateaubriand and drank wine on a balcony overlooking the ocean. As we watched the sun set over the ocean, the familiar sound of wooden pan flutes wafted up through the jungle trees. Akary. Unmistakably. We finished our wine and wandered down the cobblestone road to an outdoor café where the band was performing live. We could not believe the coincidence or the magical good luck. The memory of the music floating around us through the tropical air still gives me goosebumps.
Magic can happen at home too.
A few years ago a group of close friends decided at the last minute to pull together a pot luck meal. Each person contributed something different. I don’t remember the specifics of the food, but I do remember how all the flavours blended together as if we had planned it, how the atmosphere in our candlelit sunroom matched the circumstances perfectly, how our long-term, comfortable friendship felt just right.
When I look back at the special meals that stick with me, in every case the event was unplanned. As if the magic needed the spontaneity to make it happen.
What are your memorable meals?
Outside the door of my childhood farmhouse stood a set of wooden steps leading to our clothesline platform. My father installed the clothesline high off the ground to keep the clothes from dragging, hence the need for steps and a platform.
When I was a child, I wrapped a towel around my neck like a Superman cape, climbed those steps, stood on the edge of the platform and made a wish to fly like Superman. Every time, I jumped from the top and landed—plop—on the ground.
Gravity was not my friend.
I’m not sure how old I was, but probably younger than 6. I can remember really wishing to fly and really believing that it just might happen; we lose that kind of magical belief around age six.
We humans have some common physical limitations—none of us can fly that I’m aware of—and other individual physical challenges—size, gender and illness all come into play. Sometimes it takes a long time to accept what can’t be ours; all these years later I’m still disappointed that I can’t set my feet and push off into the heavens.
Because we don’t want to accept those limitations, we push boundaries to achieve the most we can with what we’ve got. We learn to balance the cannot-ness of our physical realities with the can-ness of our spirit and mind potentials. When we do, we come up with ingenious adaptations. As a result, lo and behold, now I can fly if I need to, with a little help from the Wright brothers and Air Canada.
I can fly, just not in the way I expected.
It’s an ongoing balancing act: accepting the “what is” of our physical realities with not accepting the “what that means” as a result. Humans can’t fly all on their own, but they can fly another way.
Do you remember the TV show I Dream of Jeannie? How many of us would hold our arms in front of us and blink like Jeannie, hoping that the blink would transport us instantly from one place to another? How about Bewitched? Did you wiggle your nose and wish for the same? And, of course, there’s Star Trek. Can you hear the sound of the transporter in your mind? Don’t you wish teleportation were real? I do.
Teleportation is not a physical reality for us yet, but we humans don’t like accepting limitations. Maybe my grandchildren will have a much easier commute to work thanks to the mind and spirit work of others.
I choose to dream and believe in that magic.