Category Archives: Snapshots from a Happy Life

Food for the Journey

We human beings need food to survive. Eating engages fully our most intimate senses: touch, taste and smell. Throughout our lives we use food to celebrate and to share as well as to hold body and soul together. In the course of life different foods become symbols. As we near death we do not need to eat for sustenance, so a last supper is not a physical need. The question of what one would have is really “What do you want to remember as you leave everything you have ever known behind?” I can’t answer that for myself, but here is a story that relates:

My grandfather died from Kidney cancer in 2002. He was on hospice in a skilled nursing facility. He wanted to eat bacon with his pancakes. But he had come into the facility from a heart attack and someone had checked the box on his diet sheet that said he was to have a low salt, low fat diet (he might have weighed 100 lbs at that point and he was 5’7” in his prime). Logic be darned they wouldn’t just give the guy a strip of bacon.

It took me three days to get that order changed. By then Gramps wasn’t eating anything, but when they brought in his breakfast he saved the piece of bacon to eat later. He died a couple of days later and the strip of bacon was tucked in a drawer, along with the shaker of salt I had smuggled in for him. I wonder if the smell comforted him, and if that strip of bacon nourished his soul.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry….”

I am on a Journey…

I am on a journey. I have taken this route many times before, but this time is a bit different: it is likely to be the last time I come to this place. This is not a melancholy thought: I don’t like it here, and my grandmother, the only reason I come here, is moving closer.

It isn’t a crisis. Thank goodness, one of those at a time is quite enough. It is a kind of business trip. Get things packed up and arranged for movers.

As I drove along the 1250 miles between my house and here I thought about all the stops and side trips that I was going to make someday. But I didn’t stop at any of them. The only stops I made were at places I knew. Not in a reminiscing way, but because I knew where to turn and what to expect.

It was a beautiful drive and, at several points, I thought that I wanted to take a picture, but there was no where convenient to pull off at the moment. I did not take a single picture all the way down. No record of this last trip.

After coming here for 44 years I expected to feel more. I recently scanned some photographs that my dad took on the first trip we ever made down here. The desert has changed, the route itself has changed, and so have I.

I wonder what is next?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Journey.”



Astounding Details

When we traveled in China last year I was amazed at the intricate detail work we saw in so many places. It seemed like there were works of art everywhere you looked. Here are some examples:

Detail of paintings on supports for a roof at the Summer Palace.
Detail of paintings on supports for a roof at the Summer Palace.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Intricate.”

Intricate Work

Reconstructing the terracotta army strikes me as one of the most intricate of tasks.

Excavation pit showing how the pieces look when tehy are found.
Excavation pit showing how the pieces look when they are found.

It is awesome to realize the amount of detail that went into creating the figures in the first place as well.

Terracotta warriors.
Terracotta warriors.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Intricate.”