Thursday, September 27, 2007

Standing Room Only

My original intention when starting this post, was to share with you the tight quarters from which we create meals. But a funny thing happened on the way to the dog park/farmers market yesterday morning and somehow these small digs are hardly worth mentioning.

Many of my new blogging friends have chatted with me *offline* about their beautiful kitchens, their lack of space, or have commiserated with me in a familiar dream-like trance about their "one day kitchen." That is in fact what motivated me to take this photo in the first place. However, my gripes and sarcasm about this lonely 25 inches of counter space (if that!) are hardly relevant now....

Yesterday morning was average. I followed my usual routine on market days, leaving a bit earlier for the run so that little Lola could get some exercise before we proceed to gather goodies from the farmers.

We arrived unceremoniously enough and while she did her stuff I took a seat next to a fellow pup owner. I commented on his darling dog.

"Surely she was a pit mix with that gorgeous broad jaw and stunning speckled face. What a doll! What's her name?"

"Funny thing" says the guy, "she doesn't have one yet."

We got to talking and it turns out he found her in Jersey City just two nights ago. As he tells it, she was being badly beaten by a group of kids at around 4 a.m. Between looks of disgust and despair I wondered what this man was doing out at such an hour, especially if he lives in the city. Which surely he must as he is at a dog park here at an early hour.

If you know me you probably know I like to talk. So I asked him what he was doing in such a bad neighborhood at such an un-g-dly hour. He shuddered and mumbled something I took to mean, "don't ask."

"All I know is she saved my life" he said, slowly nodding his head and looking at his cute new friend in awe.

Trying to make conversation I asked where he lived which prompted yet another heartbreaking comment, "right now? In cardboard."

Sh*t, there I go again opening my mouth. Can't leave well enough alone.

"My wife died August 10th and I lost it...." he mumbled something else and it was at that time that I could see that he was really hurting. There was something in his eyes that looked like the dampness of death had taken over his once happy heart.

He stared into the distance.

I could only speculate as to what he meant when he said that she saved his life. But it's not my business to speculate.

When he again turned back my way I quickly changed the topic. I learned that he was a well traveled and published photographer in addition to holding an impressive education with advanced degrees.

Here was this seemingly average man. Clean shaven, well dressed, sitting among other dog owners on an average morning at a neighborhood spot. Everything seemed average.

I told him I didn't want to be condescending but it would be an honor for me to give him some money for a good breakfast and a treat for his new pal which he promptly declined.

"I'm not working my dog at the run. Let's be dog run friends."

Ouch. I get it. I said goodbye and that I hope to see him tomorrow (today), and I bound towards the market with Lola.

My eyes were a bit wet as I realized that

....I had a wallet with some (trust me not lots!) of money,

....I was going to gather more (not that we need for anything) food to make for our family,

....I would take that food to our home (not too big but certainly a fine place to rest our heads),

....I would speak to my Mom on the phone, my sister over IM and my dad through email, and hubby about a zillion times...just to say I love you.

....later tonight I would make dinner (or as luck would have it, have dinner made for me) with my darling husband.

It is so easy to get caught up in the 'woe is me' syndrome which most likely results from our feeble attempts to keep up with the joneses (or in our case multiple gazillionairres living next door!). I know we all know this, and probably talk about it all the time, but I just had to write this down if only to remind myself. If only so that the next time I complain about something in my life I could look back(or someone out there could kindly refer me to this post) and remember to be thankful.

So who am I to complain about my small kitchen when it overflows with enough fresh and frozen produce to support a small army if ever Armageddon should come?

I'm thankful for my tiny apartment that is under 600 square feet and the kitchen that only one person can walk into at a time. I'm not thrilled that our only source of light (5 small windows) faces 4 walls and a public restroom, but it could be worse. It could really always be worse.

All I know is that now I will always carry a $20 with me in a little envelope with his name on it. Just in case.


amandajean said...

oh, my, what a story! It is a great reminder (to all of us) to be thankful for what we have.

countrygirlcityliving said...


Colleen said...

Lindsay- I love it when people post from the heart. Like this one, you've done it on numerous occasions and I greatly appreciate the way you share. I value days that turn out with surprises that are not always the ones you want to hear or see, but need to hear and see. It's good for us all. It helps us see the bigger picture in life and when we can do something about it, (or at least attempt to as you did) we learn what it is to love selflessly. p.s. I'm amazed that such gormet food comes from such a tiny kitchen=)

countrygirlcityliving said...

Thank you for your kind words. It means a lot that people don't think I'm totally nutso for sharing these sorts of things.
Also, I stand behind my comment from my other post (sweet days are made of these) that if you tell me what your farmers market sells I will help you put together an EASY and yet YUMMY dinner. Just ask AmandaJean...we put together an easy meal that is super delicious!
All the best and thanks again for reading!

katiez said...

A sure cure for the "poor me's"!
Well written and a good reminder for all (or, at least, most) of us!

Thimbleanna said...

Wow. Sad story and great post. You might have a small kitchen, but you're so lucky to live in such a fabulous city where you can meet such interesting people. And thanks for the reminder -- I sit around whining about growing old, but then remember I have friends who have survived cancer and should be grateful for everyday we have -- old or not!

Anonymous said...


I have always been a very proud mother, and, admirer of you, as you have always not only been talented and accomplished in all you do, but, because of the big heart and generosity you have always shown others!

Yes, it is easy to get caught up in our own thoughts daily, some good, some not so good, and, feel sorry for ourselves.

And, it is stories like the one you have told that does put everything into perspective. We do have so much to be grateful for, good memories and life to look forward to.

I continue to be proud of you, and, also look forward to all those phone calls that I get from you.

Stay happy!

I love you,


amandajean said...

oh, I just read your comment from your are lucky to have her. (I'll share my story in a personal e-mail someday.)

countrygirlcityliving said...

I am so truly blessed to have a mom like you. If it wasn't for you, my biggest cheerleader, I don't think I would be nearly as blessed in my life.
I love you to the moon and back :)

countrygirlcityliving said...

Isn't she something? I am one lucky girl, that's for sure!
Enjoy your weekend and let me know if you find that apple orchard. Better yet, let's swap recipes!

Whimsy said...

lindsay -

i just found your site and LOVE IT, especially the story of the man in the dog park! thank you for helping me to remember how important it is to be grateful for all we have!

oh - and i say that to my mom all the time. aren't sweet supportive moms the best?

can't wait to go explore your archives!


Deborah said...

I really needed this today. Thank you!