Wednesday, September 23, 2009

LIFE'S A FEAST

SWEET AND SOUR, BITTERSWEET

Life is truly a feast, a huge smorgasbord spread out before us, as far as the eye can see, a multitude of good things free for the taking. Some foods tempt us with an alluring aroma, the scent wafting up from the plate and swirling around our head, or arranged on the plate gorgeous to look at, delectable treats promising a moment of utter pleasure. We stand before the spread, plate in hand, hovering over each and every morsel, wanting to taste, savor, enjoy, knowing full well that we must pick and choose, understanding that there is too much on the table for any one person to rationally, sanely enjoy. We are so hungry, so excited, ready to grab, live life to the fullest.




Some things are sweet like a huge dessert buffet covered with cakes and bonbons, chocolate fountains and dainty petit fours graced with swags and shiny glazes, filled with smooth creams or dazzling us with spun sugar beauty. Life can be oh so sweet, babies born, summer vacations in the sunshine, running barefoot on the beach, snuggling up in socks and sweaters in front of a blazing fire, sharing laughter and secrets with best friends. We lick our fingers and sigh, contented, blissfully wishing that we could return to this ambrosial banquet every morning and feast only on what makes us truly happy.



Yet as we walk along the edge of this luscious feast and glance at one offering after the other trying to decide, we know that although we have visions of joyous festivity and living forever on the good things life has to offer, we know deep in our souls that we can’t always stand at the dessert bar. We have to admit that the feast that is life is not always laden with candy and cakes and, fork poised above each dish, we must take our chances, risk the bad in order to taste the good.

Some things are sour, popped into our mouth, lips pucker and we jump back in surprise, the tart not quite balanced out with enough sweet, the fall not cushioned with enough whipped cream; friendships gone sour, saying good bye, hopes of good report cards fluttering off in the breeze as we pull the card out of the envelope, being pushed around by the less than kind, the less than sweet. Yet tangy we like, tangy is good, that sweet and sour combination that makes our taste buds dance, our hearts sing in joy, a shindig with music and laughter, lemon meringue pie and those sour balls and Jolly Ranchers that dad always brought home.



Or spicy, hot and exotic, hinting at far off lands and hidden mysteries, excitement and adventure. Although our eyes may water, these are tears mingled with pleasure, hands clapping as we look for more, trips to foreign countries only dreamed of, the hot rush of love at first sight, gobbled up like so many curries and tagines, deep-fried accras and seafood creole over rice.

Savory, salty, like seawater washing over us, it could be warm and soothing like hot pretzels eaten on the boardwalk or a crockpot full of steaming homemade stew, comforting us on a rainy day. But it could be cold, the waves pounding on the beach, clouds rushing through the sky, foretelling a storm. We dive below the surface and come up choking on a mouthful of salty water like so many tears, the darkness wrapping around us as we struggle for breath, the salty taste lingering as we paddle towards the shore. Nothing drastic, nothing we won’t forget once we light the bonfire, the salty taste of roasting sausages bringing the smiles back.


Sometimes we bite into a delicacy that looks promising only to discover too late the bitterness hidden under the pretty aspect, wrapping of golden pastry, the lovely arrangement on the serving platter. Eyes watering, we desperately grab a napkin thinking only to spit it out, banish it from our memory as quickly as we get rid of the bad taste in our mouth, hoping no one is watching. Or dry, bone dry and brittle, turning to ashes in our mouth, wishing that we had never even come. We wonder at how we could have been taken in, who could have played such a nasty trick, our heart breaking with sadness, yet furious at being burned, at being tempted by the scrumptious first course, only to push our plate away from us in disgust or in anger and hurt.

All we can hope for is that the bitter is mingled with the sweet, a sad smile on our lips, happy memories making the bitter ones easier to swallow, the sweet taste lingering on. Life is bittersweet.

Michael S Schler

April 9, 1957 - September 15, 2009


42 comments:

Hilda said...

This is a truly beautiful post Jamie. I don't think Michael could have asked for a more beautifully written, expressive, emotive post than this.
The mark of a truly gifted writer is the ability to convey adversity so delicately, and you really are so gifted. Lots of love to you and your family.

Mowielicious said...

Jamie - that's such a touching and gorgeous post, thank you so much for sharing it with us during such an emotional time.

Debbie said...

Thanks for sharing such an intimate side of your life with us. I know your brother will be smiling and watching over you from above. I wish you and your family comfort, peace, light and love <3

Cheryl said...

Jamie,

So beautifully written. I'm so glad some of us were able to get together last summer to share life's feast in my backyard.

Thinking of you and all the Schlers
-Cheryl

La Table De Nana said...

I just had a feeling at the beginning~It's all so true~
What a thoughtful touching way to let your readers know of your loss~
My sympathies to you and yours~
Monique

KennyT said...

Jamie, hope you're alright.

Barbara Bakes said...

I hope your happy memories are helping to make this bitter time easier! God Bless!

Anonymous said...

May the sweetness of your memories blend with the saltiness of your tears to create the unique flavor that can only belong to your brother. My heart is with you, sweet sister.

Kitchen Jezebel

RJ Flamingo said...

Oh, Jamie. What sensations you create with words and a lovely tribute to your brother. I'm so sorry for your loss, my friend.

Maris said...

What a touching post. I'm keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

Minna said...

Oh, Jamie. My eyes are full of tears, but I cannot help smile at your touching tribute to a much beloved brother.

I am holding you in my heart and in my arms. I send a white light to guide Michael to the other side. I ask that his presence touches you and your family as you continue to grieve.

My deepest condolences to you and all your loved ones.

Barbara said...

Jasmie - a beautiful tribute to your brother. Hugs.

Jeff Grill said...

My prayers and condolences I offer to you. You have offered such a marvelous feast to us with your lovely, and now, even more lovely, beautiful, sweet, and sad post.

girlichef said...

Oh Jamie, I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute :)

Aparna said...

Such a beautifully written post, Jamie. You have a gift here. You couldn't have done this any better.
Your brother will always be with you in your heart.
Thinking of you and God bless.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Such a beautiful post. I'm so sorry for your loss.

All my condolences to you and your family.

Hugs,

Rosa xoxo

MeetaK said...

Jamie, you have expressed yourself so very touchingly and in your lovely, gentle way you make a sad moment fill up with optimism. I love you and am sending you and your family all my prayers. My deepest condolences!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Dear Jamie, I am so sorry for your loss. I am so sad for you and your family. Take comfort in them. I will be thinking of you.
Lots of love, HH

bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) said...

What a beautifully written post Jamie. May he rest in peace. XO

Bethie said...

Jamie, how beautiful. My regards to you and your family and hopes that you will find solace in your gathering.

Barbra said...

Choosing to live fully knowing full well that none of it will last -- it's the only way. Beautiful post, Jamie.

angela@spinachtiger said...

Not sure the circumstances, but I feel your pain. I lost my brother too. He was 37. Miss him everyday.

Happy cook said...

A very touching post Jamie. You have written it so well. You are one brave person. My thougths and love is with you and you family.
Hugs and love to you and family.

scraps said...

Beautifully written, prayers to you and your family.

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

Hugs to you my friend. Michael was blessed to have such a beautiful family, and such a beautiful sister as you. Your writing is evocative, touching & expressive...makes my heart pain at times too. Take care my friend. Sorry you've had to go through such tough emotional times! xoxo

Claudia said...

You have truly honored your brother with this tribute. So evocative of happiness and love and the sadnesses life throws in-between. Sending all good things your way to help you cope and grieve and heal.

Junglefrog said...

What a beautiful post Jamie. My thoughts are with you and your family!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I am so sorry for your loss. i will keep you and your family in my prayers. thanks for sharing beautiful memories with us.

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

This is just a breath-taking post that brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry for you loss. Much love and lots of hugs.

Chef E said...

Beautiful words that have touched me and others...my thoughts and hugs are coming your way...

5 Star Foodie said...

Jamie, what a beautiful tribute to your brother, I'm so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts. Hugs, Natasha

zorra said...

Dear, my thoughts and heart is with you and your family.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Beautifully and thoughtfully written Jamie. My thought and prayers are with you and your family. I'm sending an armful of hugs your way.
Sam

Amy said...

So incredibly sorry for your loss. Hopefully writing such a lovely tribute will give you some, albeit probably small, solace.

Mary said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Know our thoughts and prayers with you.

Juliana said...

Nice post! Thanks for sharing it!

Katy ~ said...

Jamie, I am choked with emotion at your beautiful.

Bless you and your family. I hope the love of your friends will help you to bear this sad sad loss.

Sophie said...

Dear jamie, I hope you are okay.

I think this was a beautiful ode to your beloved brother. Thanks for sharing your emotions & tales with us.

You do your brother proud!

Chez US said...

Jamie,

This is beautiful, what a lovely tribute to your brother. Thank you for sharing with us during such an emotional time! Our thoughts are with you and your family!

Parita said...

A very touching post jamie, Michael was very lucky to have you as a sis, bless you and your family.

Lien said...

Yes life can be all of that. A wonderful post for your brother. So sorry for your loss. Virtual hugs and lots of love for you and family. Take care

MaryMoh said...

A very touching story. Thanks for sharing part of your life story.

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