Remember.

A funny, sweet story for your Monday (and a recipe link at the end):

When I was in my 20s, working my first “real” job (the one I got when I advanced from the secretarial pool), my office phone would often ring mid-afternoon.

“Jennifer Larkey speaking.”

“Jaybird?”

“Hi, Daddy, how are —“

“Hang on, hang on; gotta take my hearing aids out…”

Imagine a man in his mid-60s, driving a dark red Buick down a busy Memphis street.

With one hand he’s holding a cell phone the size (and weight) of a brick.

With the other hand, he’s trying to remove his hearing aids, so they won’t interfere with the cell phone audio.

He’s steering with his knee, the way he taught his daughters to do (“but only in an emergency…”).

In his mouth? A cigar.

He is in the car, smoking the cigar, because his wife, my stepmother, wouldn’t let him smoke cigars in or near the house.

So, most afternoons, around 2:00, he would get in the car, with his cigar and his phone, get on the road, and call me to talk about nothing in particular.

I have a detailed memory of only one of these calls. After today, I’ll bet you’ll remember it, too.

“You still there, Jaybird?”

“Yes, Daddy. How are you?”

“Fantastic! We just got back from New Orleans and had a heck of a time! The food was out of this world! You ever hear of these things called ‘bagels’? Damn, those things are good!”

The year was 1994.

No, I am not making that up.

When I hung up from talking to my father, I called my sister to relay the story. “Ever hear of these things called bagels?” became one of our secret code sentences. Whenever things got heavy and serious, or whenever something ridiculous happened, one of us could turn to the other and say, “Ever hear of these things called bagels?” and we’d both fall out laughing, in the best way.

Why this story, today?

Because somewhere in the world, right now, while you’re reading these words, someone is excitedly discovering something you already know. Maybe even something you and I have known for so long that we find it impossible to believe anyone wouldn’t already know about it.

What fire looks like when a match is struck. Newton’s laws. The Snowy Day. Bach. The accepted-as-correct pronunciation of a word they’ve been mis-pronouncing.

Erikson’s theory of human psycho-social development.

And bagels.

Somewhere, right now, someone is discovering, for the first time, something you and I already know.

We could be a smart-ass cynic about that, or we could share in the wonder and awe.

That’s my wish for you, and for me, today. If today brings us the gift of witnessing the experience of discovery firsthand, may we accept that blessing and carry it forward.

And in the spirit of discovery, food, cooking, recipes, and my sweet, silly father, a link to the bagel recipe I’ve had success with (Sally’s Baking Addiction never fails): https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/homemade-bagels/

Bonus: Need an idea for dinner tonight, and one that doesn’t require heating up the kitchen or doing much prep? Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad to the rescue. Again.

Tomorrow? Something about art, and Josef Albers. See you then?


About this series:

For the month of August, as a birthday present to myself, I’m doing another daily writing challenge. This year, not unlike last year, it’s all about RE-committing to writing. So far that includes: Reengage, Reconsider, Reassess, Review, Redefine, Relish, Relay, Reinvent, Reevaluate, Reroute, Restore, Rediscover., and Reflect.

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