Sunday, August 30, 2009

Loss and the gift of squash

A few weeks ago my mom wrote about an unexpected squash growing over her fence from her neighbor's yard. While she's away cruising around Greece (lucky her!), I am on water-the-plants duty, and I decide that the squash is ready to pick...and eat. Being a big fan of most kinds of squash I am delighted and intrigued. What is this thing? What kind is it? How will it taste?

When I get home, I cut it in half to reveal a golden inside full of pumpkin-like seeds...and it beacons to be eaten and I'm more than willing. The first night I take one half, scoop out the seeds, cut off the green outside, then cut it into bite-sized pieces. I throw the chunks into a pan with olive oil and season with garlic, salt, and some herbs and cook until soft. OMG! It's the most buttery yummy delicious squash goodness I've ever tasted. The next night, same thing except I sprinkle with curry powder and a bit of sugar for a more savory version. Yumm yumm yumm!!! Yes, call me a squash geek but I don't care. It was a major treat for sure. And yea! my kids loved it, too.

I can't help but think about the planter of the seed that grew this magnificent squash. My mom's neighbor has absolutely no idea of the gift he gave to me and my family. I almost want to print those pictures, write a thank-you note, and slip it under his door mat. After all, it's always a better feeling to give a gift than receive one, especially when it was unintentional. Humm, I think I will do that since I'm due to water plants tomorrow. Hey, why not, right?

After all, this week has, well, totally sucked, and I'm sure we can all use more smiles. My husband unexpectedly lost a close friend who leaves behind a devastated family with two children who struggle with sickle cell anemia and many close-knit friends and co-workers. I am blown away and touched by my husband's dedication to making sure his friend is honored in the best way possible and that his family is taken care of not only now but in the future.

Add to that the local fire this week that fills our lives with awful smoke and horrible news of loss. The wonderful Switzer Falls that I wrote about a few weeks ago is in the red fire zone and presumed totally burned. I'm crushed.

So, ya, a silly squash growing over the fence is just a squash - a simple side dish in the scheme of life. But, for me it's something good and much needed for my soul in a week that I wish never happened. I am grateful that this week's events could be much much worse, after all, I still have a home and husband and my health. And, maybe, just maybe when I plant those saved seeds from that fantastic squash next spring and hopefully produce more of them for my own garden, I'll be able to look back on this crappy week and think about the loss and also feel hopeful for the future...and my happy belly.


  1. that is incredible squash! I can't believe how big your kids are getting. I am sorry to hear about your friend. We were coming down on Friday for a week. I am not sure anymore because of the fires. If we do it will just be to Disneyland if the air is good.

  2. Lovely post. I'm sorry that this week has squashed your normally happier outlook.

  3. That is awesome! We love squash too. We got a "gigantic gift squash" recently as well. There is something really cool about receiving home grown food. You should let the man know how much you liked it. He probably wants to hear some good news too :)

  4. I've enjoyed reading your posts from my cruise. I'm touched how much you still appreciate the "little" things, the gifts that are so easy to overlook. So sorry about Jason's friend. I'll be home soon with hugs and more hugs...Missing you xoxoxox