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february 27, 2011

If you could have anything to eat right now, what would it be?  Bonus:  Assume price is no object and that you could eat this food with anyone alive or who has ever lived.

If I could eat anything right now, it would be a chunk of crusty, chewy bread, a piece of cheese, some apple slices and grapes.  I’d be sitting at the base of the Eiffel Tower, sharing a picnic with my grandmother.

Paris is a place that my grandmother adored.  She made several trips to Europe with my grandfather during their middle age; but, Paris was her favorite.  She couldn’t speak a lick of French, and badly mangled the pronunciation of the names of her favorite spots.  I loved to sit with her on a Saturday morning, poring over her scrapbooks, listening to her stories of the sights, smells & tastes of Paris.  As she’d talk, it was like I was there with her.

We always talked about going together someday; but, one thing and another always came up.  First, it was the bustle of starting my young family, then it became her age and declining abilities.

Toward the end of her life, when I would visit her, dementia was taking its toll.  I would bring a guidebook of Paris.  We would flip through the pages together.  Occasionally, something would catch her eye, stir a memory and a spark would ignite.  Some small gift would be unwrapped in the form of a story.  In those moments, I would have my grandmother truly back.

These days, I think about that trip that we never took together.  I’m resolved to get there one of these days, pick a spot in the park near the Eiffel Tower, tear off a piece of bread & raise a glass of wine to the sky.  I know that my grandmother will be smiling & sharing my toast.