Keeping Our Selves Warm

Multiple Passages, ©2010, H. Hunter, Multimedia

At this time of the year in most parts of our country, the task is to stay warm, but even more that that, to keep our souls warm. As it becomes darker and colder outside, it's easy to find ourselves in similar inner spaces.

Instead, I'm seeking to turn up my inner heat and discover more of what lies within. With that in mind and my early morning warm-up shower behind me, I wanted to share a few things that have warmed my soul lately...

Multiple Passages was created in memory of a vibrant young woman with whom I worked; she was Fijian, by way of India and she had a spark in her soul that could heat up any room she found herself in during her time at our hospital.

In particular, I appreciated her fierce love of Bob Marley and the Jamaican flag which decorated her room. One day near the end of her life, I entered to find her choosing just the right shade of magenta that she and her nurse planned to dye her hair that weekend. Although she died a year and a few months ago, her presence continues to permeate my work.

Grandma Caroline, ©2006 H. Hunter, SoulCollage®

This morning, in honor of Thanksgiving, I decided to excavate my bedside reading collection. In the pile, I found a sheaf of typewritten letters from my grandmother Caroline. She died at the age of 33 in 1938, years before I was born. I happened to turn to a letter I hadn't yet read, dated a few weeks before the Thanksgiving of 1937. At that time, she was for the most part, confined to her bed with the cancer that took her life. In this letter, she shares with her sister Leah her delight and humor over a Friday night Shabbat (the Jewish sabbath) dinner:

Friday night we had such dandy broiled white bass for supper how I wished you could share it with broccoli with drawn butter and lemon sauce. As if that were'nt enough fish in came Maurice with a jar of Gafilta fish. Of course I raved and raved about it, but it was so white and flat tasting. Maurice said see it was made with frozen haddock and you could'nt tell the difference. But I did'nt say so but just raved about it. Your really need fresh fish to make a jelly like stock to cook the balls in. You can't tamper with that good old fashioned gafilta recipe. (The underlinings are all hers.)

I love her exuberance and her kindness. And, while I have never liked gefilte fish, her excitement over good food helps me understand my own global enthusiasm for food and I am grateful that she lives on in me through our shared devotion to food, words and family.

Last, but not least, to see a video clip from an interview NBC Today show host, Matt Lauer did at St. Jude's Hospital this Monday, click here

You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words...