Sara Made Stew
As a relief pharmacist for a large corporation, I flit about all over the province of Saskatchewan. Every now and again if I’m lucky, I get to have a free evening in a town where my friends live and I will get to spend some time with them.
Enter my friend Sara. Sara lives in a town where I sometimes get to work. But more often than not when I’m there, it’s only for 2 days. The first day is a late shift (because I drive into town that morning), and the next day is an early shift (so I can drive home or to wherever my next shift will be). This is not ideal for two reasons…
First - Sara has children, a husband, and a job. This means that quiet time begins early in her household. Therefore, me working until 9 and then coming over after is not really an option. Second, as much as I’d like to see her and her family, I probably had a long day - driving 3+ hours and working 8 - and after that all I really have energy for is to go to my hotel room, prep for the next day, wind down, and get ready for bed.
One time, though, and this is where it gets exciting you guys - I got to work 3 shifts in Sara’s town. The second one happened to be a 9-5er and Sara and I made plans to get together after I was done my shift. Since Sara’s husband was away working, we decided instead of going out somewhere that I would just go over to her house and she would cook us something. I still remember that day. I was working, she messaged me to make sure we were still on for that evening which of course, we were. Then she said she through some stew in the slow cooker and it would be ready by 6pm.
I was now super pumped. I could not wait.
After work I typed her address into my GPS, because I don’t know why - and it makes me cranky - but I can never remember how to get to her house. It’s not like she lives in a big city for heaven’s sake. I normally take pride in knowing that if you were to take me somewhere once, I will be able to find my way out and back again no problem, but with Sara’s house? Not a chance. Anyway, I found her house. Hugged her and greeted her little babes. Supper was all ready and we could dig in anytime.
This is where I get emotional…
As I sat down at her table with my plate full of stew, Sara said to me something like, “I know it’s not a fancy restaurant meal like you’re used to…” implying that her supper wasn’t up to my standards. I damn near choked on the mouthful of stew I had just shoved into my mouth without regard to manners whatsoever. I couldn’t believe she thought I wouldn’t possibly be enjoying what she made.
Oh, Sara. Sweet, sweet Sara.
Could she not see the tears welling up in my eyes the second I tasted it? Maybe not, because I’m sure they were closed and my eyeballs rolled back in my head because of the pleasure my tongue was experiencing at that moment was unreal. Her stew wasn’t good. It was the best food I had tasted in a long time (and still is, if I’m completely honest). You need to understand that I eat restaurant or fast food multiple times a day for months at a time. A home-cooked meal is like magic to me and more than I could have ever asked for. I was beginning to not like food. I had been trying to find different places to eat because everything I had been eating was starting to taste the same. Now I know why - it’s because restaurants don’t cook with love.
But Sara does.
I know this because I could taste the thoughtfulness she put into it to make sure it was suitable and nutritious for her family with dietary restrictions. I could feel the love because warmed my soul through and through, giving me the strength to go on doing what it is that I do, reminding me that I really could enjoy the taste of food again - especially when Sara makes stew.