At the start of this latest hometown sojourn, K and I descended on my parent's home to take on the task that had been weighing on me: cleaning out my father's garage. The emotional discoveries of that task will be detailed in the next post but first; a flashback of another sort. My friend Kristy invited us over for lunch across the alley at her mother Mary Alice's table. A welcome flashback indeed it was.
We entered the house as I did throughout my childhood...through the back door and into the kitchen. The house was lovingly appointed in the style of Kristy's mother...the homespun decor currently colored with autumn flourishes. The aromas of steaming bowls of chili filled the air. The chili served along with the gooey grilled cheese sandwiches were cozily reminiscent of the Friday football night tradition started by Mary Alice. We would crowd around the table on those nights for many years...as middle school students eagerly anticipating joining our friends to huddle over hot chocolate and cheer on the home team. In later years, we would be band members and fortify ourselves with Mary Alice's chili to prepare for our pre-game and half-time performances.
On the side would be hunks of Baby Swiss cheese from Amish country, homemade pickles and for dessert, her famous cheesecake. Kristy's lunch featured some tasty updates: habanero-spiced pickles that produced a warmth of their own, locally made pepperoni bread and her signature cherry crisp. K, my sister Shirley and I enjoyed the lunch thoroughly and for me, it was a comforting reminder of days gone bad. Kristy even displayed a flash of Mary Alice's signature sense of humor; tossing a sub-par sandwich out the kitchen door before we arrived.
It was a tasty tribute to Mary Alice Deem; one of our favorite ladies. Kristy, you've done her proud.