When Big Guy began work, Little Guy and I missed seeing him during the day, and BG missed his old carefree habits. To help make sense of our new routines, I decided that we should share a special lunch together on Mondays, one of the two days of the week that BG doesn't work.
This past Monday was the last such lunch of the summer, as the boys return to school in the coming week. We cooked a pot of chili (with soy burger, thank you very much :), LG standing by the stove, spoon in hand, as if he were the captain of a ship with a constant hand on the tiller, stirring and adding pinches of salt and coriander; BG making guacamole, using the dasher from the chocolate pot to mash the avocado into the lime juice and salt; and I, of course, had to bake cornbread to complete this cooking, taking care to preheat the skillet so the golden batter hissed and purred when it hit the sheen of black iron.
It was fitting, too; for this was the menu of our first celebratory BG's Day Off Lunch. As we sat and ate, showering fistfuls of Frito corn chips over bowls of chilie and guacamole, we again declared contest rules: he (or she!) who first finds one of the three cardamom pods in the chili will be declared The Winner---of what, it's never been specified: somehow, knowledge that one has indeed been acknowledged The Winner seems in and of itself to be most satisfactory.
Not a one of us found a single pod, but we were too satiated to much care.
Yesterday, I warmed up a bowl of chili. I found all three pods.
I'm the winner!
Finding those three pods is the least of the reasons that I consider myself to be occasioned by good fortune. It has been a challenging year this year past, with more challenges to come. This life, full of family and beauty and challenge, this coming here, and having the occasion to meet you as you come by---all have been as serendipitous as finding that first cardamom pod.
So many are having such dreary weather as of late, ourselves included. Especially in those conditions, it's fun to find that one thing that makes you The Winner, isn't it?
Go ahead: declare yourself The Winner for today. If anyone asks you to present proof positive, you may say I'm holding that cardamom pod, just like a crackerjack toy, for you.
Have a great day, dear reader.