The magic of asking

The salad with lettuce and carrots from Carol's garden and beet greens and tomato from my garden.

The salad with lettuce, spinach, and carrots from Carol’s garden and beet greens and tomato from my garden.

I took a chance when a friend on Facebook noted that the upcoming heavy frost would kill the lettuce growing in her garden. Being “temporarily retired” and conscious of budgeting, I noted in my comment that if Carol had an overabundance, I know someone who would be glad to have some, and who would be sure to use all of it. This began a happy chain of events, a kind of magic.

Carol kindly invited me to help harvest some of the goods in her garden, and we agreed to meet at her house when I was in the area the next afternoon. I had not seen Carol in perhaps 10 years, but she greeted me warmly, welcomed me into her comfortable house, and introduced me to her three sweet dogs. Carol’s son, Ebin, was home, and shook my hand on meeting. Last I had seen him, Ebin was a teenager, and now he is a man in his 20’s, a professional actor, a costumed interpreter at a nearby historic site, and, as he demonstrated while we visited, a knitter.

The three of us chatted while I petted the dogs in turn as they required. We caught up on the past decade, reminisced a little, and talked about present and future plans. Carol’s husband, Bob, arrived home, greeted me, and joined in the conversation. He offered to use his network to find me some assistance for a current major project, and I gladly accepted.

The sun was fading fast, and the air was turning colder, so Carol and I headed out to the community garden a few minutes from her home. There, I admired her beautiful plot, full of raised beds lush with growing vegetables. Carol bade me harvest plenty of leaf and Romaine lettuce, some red ribbed spinach, and gorgeous leaves of kale. On top of that, she gave me some lovely little round carrots, and a small turnip–the latter so I could try it.

My bag full, the dark was settling low, and the cold biting sharper, so Carol and I hugged good-bye and talked about meeting again soon.

That night, I made a beautiful salad for my dinner, enjoying the blend of produce from Carol’s garden, my garden, and the local farmer’s market. The following day, I made another salad, which I took to my yacht club’s monthly meeting and social hour. Once word got around that this salad was exceedingly fresh and local, the bowl was quickly emptied by hungry club members. Even the Powerboater Who Eats No Green Things had to break his rule and taste some of Carol’s beautiful, fresh, and tender leaf lettuce.

The day after that, I washed, ribbed and cut the kale, then tossed it in oil,  roasted (275F for 20 min) and salted it to a perfect crispy and delicious snack. I put the lone turnip in a green smoothie, which actually tasted good.

By then, all that was left of Carol’s gift was the Romaine lettuce. This I took to a friend’s house and made into a third salad, which we had for dinner, along side the rice and chicken korma curry I cooked. I left the remaining dinner food with my friend, knowing that she would be sure to appreciate and enjoy it.

The following evening, my friend called to let me know that she had eaten the remaining salad, after mixing it with other ingredients given to her by people who also love her. She reported that the combination was delicious, and made her feel very lucky to be so cared for by others.

Thus, one small request resulted in my receiving much more than a bag of garden produce. Along with it, I was given warmth, hospitality, an offer of assistance, and the ability to share the delicious bounty with friends and fellows who also felt enriched by Carol’s gift. From all of us, thank you, Carol, for your generosity and kindness.

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