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Recipe du Jour had three outstanding newsletters; Tips, Recipes and Desserts.  Tim, one of the three principles, wrote this piece with which I heartily agree.   (See "It's Not Too Late for Father's Day".)   Take it to heart; don't wait until it's too late; until regrets that can never be corrected set in.  Make your own list now and follow through.

Simply Tim (circa 2001)
About fifteen years ago I decided it would be a good idea to write a letter to each of the significant people in my life who had made a difference. The incident inspiring this outpouring of emotion was the sudden death of a close friend and college instructor-mentor-painter, A. B. Jackson, with whom I had lost contact through the years. Regretting I had never told him about how important his guidance had been in my adulthood life, and how much I truly appreciated his friendship, I decided to write letters to all of those who still mattered. This included my mom, dad, my aunt Suzi, my grandmother, a woman named Mary, a lifetime friend of my mother, a schoolteacher who taught me how to think and put words on paper, as well as a few other important friends.

In these highly personal letters I simply listed my memories of each person and the good times we had shared in our relationships, defined in words that were somehow more easily written down than expressed out loud. At first, it was quite difficult, but as I began recalling the shared moments that had passed between us, doorways flew open and more and more good memories were remembered.

To Mom I wrote about how I remembered her 1950's print dresses, and how they flowed in the breeze caused from the train passing by while the engineer blew his whistle at an awestruck young boy day after day as I waved and Mom probably wanted to be elsewhere.

To Dad I recalled my first memories of his face, smiling with perfect teeth, as he whirled me -- oh, so carefully -- in mid air, grateful for a son.

To Aunt Suzi I related how amazed I was, even at an early age at her business independence in a world run my men at a time when her face was the "RIT DYE LADY" on the boxes of Easter dye she sent us year after year.

To my grandmother, who soothed wounds with a kiss and supplied an ample amount of cherry Popsicles while watching and listening to lightning strikes and thunder from her front porch swing, nestled safely against her ample breast, I thanked her for the needed security she projected while Dad was away at something called "War".

To Mary, who always was Mom's best friend and who gave absolutely the BEST back scratches in the world, I professed gratitude, thanking her for her unrelenting closeness with Mom.

And to the schoolteacher who first took notice and taught me it was okay to be different and think for myself, I expressed a plain and simple thank you, because she always preferred plain and simple writing.

Years later, after my grandmother had died at the age of 95, I was talking to Mary (sadly, no longer with us). Mary was the administrator of the small town retirement home in which my grandmother spent the last years of her life. Mary told me Grandma had opened and re-read that letter from me so many times that it had become so creased and frayed that Mary had to tape it together with Scotch tape.

In retrospect, sending those letters was one of the best things I've ever done. I recommend everyone doing the same thing while time is still available, because time has a way of slipping away. For me, the letters I wrote were a great cleansing experience that's still with me even after all these years.


The Sneaky Kitchen
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