On the road. Discovering who This New Man is.
My Last Supper. Religion creeps in on my thoughts and concerns and wants and wonders regularly. My mother is very religious and gave this gift to me. I’m not a churchgoer and I don’t believe all about the Catholic God that she does. Still, I feel we are all entitled at some time to our last supper as we prepare to hop on the next bus for the adventure in our lives.
La Parada is about this experience, living a life that loves the spiritual adventure without feeling hungry or alone.
Before we left on this trip, we had our last supper of sorts. Two dear couples invited us to spend an evening with them before we left. One couple used to be our neighbor (with whom we consumed more than our share of local vintages) and the other a retail partner and her husband. People used to refer to Laurie as my “retail wife” because we spent so much more time together than she did with Dave and that I did with Allan. So it was a somber but important gathering before that happened just before we left for our travels.
We gathered at Bev and George’s place. They were helping us with a storage of a few items, and we wanted to return to the neighborhood where we first moved to this Northern California town. It seemed fitting; and it gave me a sense of roots. I was moving away, unsure of where or why; unsure in many ways about why we were even doing it. I was as confident that the trip would be fun and exciting as I was that it would be a disaster, that we’d end up homeless or at least lost and without a sense of direction. La Parada is a hell of an idea but also unplanned, so how could I know for sure what might happen?
Being where our family building got a start helped me. And we got to do what we and our friends liked to do best: eat each other’s food!
Most of the time when we get together we bring a pass-along item. Our twist is that we (or really Allan) like to make unusual combinations of foods, most of which are pretty good. People often look at them weird, as if they came out of nowhere. But more often than not, they taste pretty good … so we make another mark for friendship by being experimental gourmets.
At this meal Bev and George took the reins. They wanted to do all the work. They just wanted us to relax and share what we were going to do.
The food was good, basic American fare. But it isn’t the food that gets to me when I think back about that experience. It is how I would love to have known more about what was going to happen just so we could feed it to our friends. It’s difficult now to explain all that we have gone through. I know now that if I had been more sure then I might be less worried sometimes now.
But still, on this trip we got full – many times. Full of new experiences, full of different kinds of foods and traditions. La Parada has been like a giant tapas experience for me, something I related to my early years growing up in Barcelona. I wrote the other day about walls and immigration. I think now that not having walls between the plates of the people we sit down with is important. If we did this more, we’d all come away from our adventures with a better taste for sharing ourselves with others.
In thinking back on my last supper, I relate it to how different our meals have been as we were on the move. We’ve eaten at so many different places on our trip. We cooked when we could, we picked at pre-cooked grocery store items. Some stores allow one to make a meal out of samplers! We ate from cans and served ourselves up two or three helpings of Continental Breakfasts at hotels and motels where they were included in the rate.
Before we decided to do La Parada, my partner and I often drove around California when we could. We often went to local fairs and community festivities. It gave us the chance to try all kinds of local foods. Our travels did this too, only we made up our own versions.
I boiled my coffee water in a metal vegetable can, at least until we got our Coleman stove.
Today we camp. Hobo pies and instant coffee. Hash sandwiches with taco trimmings … it’s hard to explain. But it is amazing what a person can do to go gourmet on a very rustic campfire.
Each meal is a new meal, a first meal for me. Still it reminds me of my last supper that was so comforting and conventional. That one was a great but temporary goodbye, and I hope to have another that is like a welcoming as we settle in someplace else. And I very much hope that Bev & George and Dave and my retail wife Laurie can be there too. I’m sure they will enjoy the new and the old selections on our menu – because the dinner will surely be on us.
I gotta learn to cook. It needs to be part of The New Me.
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