We, a group of ballet lovers, were on our way to New York to see the first performance of the new season. On our way in one of our friends, Marcy, told us about an exciting new development in her son’s life. We are all interested in each others’ children, and were anxious to hear her story. This is what she said:
The first hint came in a phone call from my son. It was an innocuous comment, one I wouldn’t pay attention to if someone else said it, but it was strange and out of character for Brad. The comment was about learning about how to peel a clove of garlic.
“You just smash it with the flat side of a knife, he said, and the papery skin peels right off.”
“How do you know about that?” I ask.
One evening weeks after his mentioning the garlic peeling, we were discussing health benefits of different foods, and I mentioned the health benefits of turmeric.
“Is it pronounced TURmeric? My friend says ‘TUmeric.’ ” Strange conversation we’re having, I thought. All this sudden interest in food.
Some time later he called saying, “I had a terrible experience today. My friend has a very sick dog. The veterinarian in town didn’t know how to treat him, and suggested a large animal clinic in Denver. I drove the dog and the two of us the four hours to Denver. When we got to the clinic, the doctor examined him and said,
‘I’m sorry to tell you this, but in my opinion the dog has to be put down.”
My friend and I were devastated. This dog was our hiking buddy: he even camped out with us. He is such a sweet animal. But we had no other option. So the dog was put down. I’m glad I drove them to Denver. It would be tough to go through that alone.”
That is a special friend for Brad to volunteer to drive four hours each way to get to an animal clinic.
Weeks later he casually mentioned,
“I’m thinking of putting cabinets in the kitchen.”
Strange. In all the time he’s lived there he never considered kitchen improvements before.
One day he called and asked: “Will you be home in 2 weeks? I’m going to a computer technology conference.”
Of course we agreed and set a date. My husband and I looked forward to his visit. He stayed at our house for a few days, and after a wonderful visit I asked him his flight information for the trip home.
“Actually, I’m not going home yet. I’m going back to New York to take a course with the Dalai Lama.”
“Oh,” I said, not wanting to show my disappointment. The last time the Dalai Lama was in New York Brad invited me to go with him to the lecture. It was an unforgettable experience held in the Radio City Music Hall. Tibetan families representing three generations attended, filling the theater to capacity. They brought their young babies along so that they could be in the presence of the great Dalai Lama. We were transfixed by the uplifting words of that kind, brilliant man. Not a sound was heard in the entire sold-out theater throughout his talk. Afterwards we were full of ideas we heard that morning and walked though Central Park to discuss them. In keeping with the gentle message and peaceful feelings the Dalai Lama engendered, we had lunch at a small Japanese café. Asian music played softly in the background, echoing our peaceful spirits. It was a magical, beautiful and perfect day.
But he did not invite me this time. That evening at dinner Brad said,
“I’ve been dating someone for a few months. Would you like to meet her? She’s flying in from Colorado to study with the Dalai Lama. We’ve signed up for a week’s seminar. It’s an intense program designed for students of Buddhism.”
We arrange to meet for dinner one evening after one of the lectures. They will take the train from New York and meet us at a restaurant in New Jersey. We prepare for our meeting on the assigned night with our parent pulses pounding.
The evening finally arrives, and we get to the restaurant early, eagerly awaiting their arrival. In they walk, a mellow young couple, and we start talking to Allison if we’ve known each other for years.
Then she says the magic expression that reveals more than she realizes.
“I love to cook. It’s one of my favorite things to do.”
Uh huh, she loves to cook; that’s where all his culinary information came from, and now Brad plans to put cabinets in his kitchen!