My Dearest Kobi:
As a little boy of maybe five or six, you excitedly announced that a TV show about ducks was about to start. I really didn’t question it much as I was busily preparing something in the kitchen. Seeing that you were happy, I may have replied by saying something like, “That sounds nice” and then carried on with preparing the meal.
Not five minutes later, you were back in the kitchen crying uncontrollably and shouting, “They’re shooting the ducks! They’re shooting the ducks!” Your crying and sorrow were so intense that your body was heaving from the exertion – so much so that I was afraid that you might throw up . . .
As it turned out, it was a show about ducks but it was about duck hunting. To some, duck hunting is an enjoyable sport. To you, however, ducks, and all other living things were put on this earth to be loved and cherished – not hunted for sport.
I don’t know how I consoled you that day but I know the experience shook you to your very core.
This love of living things and the cruelty in the world were two things that I know you had a very hard time reconciling. You had a tender heart and I don’t think that softness ever resolved itself with the injustice, inequity and prejudice that we see around us every day.
Your love of animals also influenced your food choices as you tried very hard to follow a vegetarian diet.
Our weekly mission became finding the freshest and most reasonably priced local fruit and vegetables. We also joined Wild Rose Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program, here in Gilbert’s Cove, and enjoyed weekly shares of fresh, certified organic produce.
This need to secure the best local ingredients was the first step towards fulfilling your real passion: cooking. Not cooking for yourself as much as cooking for others.
Each morning when your father and I woke up, a breakfast was already waiting for us. The care you took selecting the ingredients and your attention to cooking techniques contributed to the quality of our breakfasts and to each other meal that you prepared.
Cuisine like yours will never grace my table again.
We often drove to local hot spots and tourist attractions while listening to classical music on CBC radio. One memorable excursion was the very early morning drive to Sheffield Mills to watch the eagles being fed and then to the local community center for pancakes – your favourite breakfast.
I think that one of our favourite and, certainly, one of our most frequent morning excursions was to the Main Street Diner for coffee and pancakes. Who would have guessed that a diner in Weymouth would serve up your favourite breakfast in a way that made you want to come back for more?
The garden was also a source of joy . . . unfortunately, this year with the cold, rain and soggy ground, we didn’t get a chance to plant anything before you left. However, the tomato plants that you bought, for your Dad, just before you left have produced succulent miniature tomatoes, just as you predicted.
The day you left, you warned Dad that slugs would eat the cabbage plants, if we didn’t protect them. You wanted us to have the best chance of a good harvest – thinking of nature, as always.
I think you were really a farmer at heart.
When you left for Vancouver, you were excited. You gave me the biggest hug – which I can still feel – and thanked me for our hospitality. I was grateful for every moment that you spent with us and was pleased that you had a plan. I was hopeful. I hadn’t seen you that happy in a long time.
When we got the news that you had died, my heart broke. It was too early for you to leave us. . .
The next morning, flocks of birds appeared in our back yard. There were birds that we had talked about but that I had not seen myself. I was in awe. . . It felt as though you sent them to comfort me.
About a week later after many mornings and evenings of inconsolable tears, I put my tea cup into the kitchen sink and as I looked up, there, across the road was a deer looking back at me. . . Such calm, peace and tranquility came over me, as I had never experienced before.
I dare not move, I wanted to feel this moment into eternity. Then calmly, the deer nodded its head and walked away . . . the magic was broken. . . But the peace and tranquility stayed. . . It felt as though you had been there to sooth me, again.
The flocks of birds have not returned to the back yard nor have I seen any other deer . . .
But, I think of you often.
I think of you in the morning when I wake up and see you in my mind’s eye sitting at the kitchen table with breakfast prepared.
I think of you when I go shopping and wonder if my choices would meet with your approval.
I think of you when I look through recipes and wonder which ones you would chose.
I think of you as I prepare a meal and wonder if you had a trick or technique that would make it better.
I think of you when I sit down to eat and wonder what you would think of the texture, the flavour and the overall presentation of the meal? How would you improve it?
I think of you when I drive through Nova Scotia admiring the scenery and wildlife while listening to classical music on CBC radio.
And, I think of you at the end of each day and hope that you have found the peace and tranquility in the ever after that you were not able to find on this earth.
I Love You Always,