southern-potato-salad-10Comfort Food (Essay, Part 2)

It seems like everyone I know is on some kind of special diet: gluten-free, vegan, lo-carb, non-processed, paleo.  We’re all caught between a rock and a hard place: needing to maintain a healthy weight and driven by the pleasure only good food can provide.  I’m not saying that eating healthy can’t be tasty too.  But I’ve been to those pot luck dinner parties and buffets where the offerings are raw kale and brown rice.  Usually my bowl of home-made, mayonnaise-laden potato salad is the only plate that gets licked clean.  Everyone goes away with a full belly and a big smile on their face.

I have a dear friend, who I’ve known all my adult life.  She’s in her 80’s and battling a colon cancer diagnosis.  We’ve spent years talking and laughing over tea or coffee or wine.  I can’t imagine my life without her in it, but maybe I should.  When she first told me her diagnosis and that her oncologist recommended chemotherapy, I promised I’d help her through this trial.  I’d buy some marijuana and even if I’m not a toker, I’d find a recipe for marijuana brownies and bake a batch we could both enjoy with our coffee.  It would be a way to double-down on the nausea chemotherapy causes with two highs: dope and chocolate.  What a great idea.  But she just smiled sadly, looking at me like I was from another planet, another generation—which I was.  My friend would find her own way through this hardship.

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