Sunday, October 14, 2012


The concept of Heaven is a comforting one. The idea that we will be reunited after death with our loved ones, friends and, at least in my view of Heaven, the pets who went before us is wonderful.  The nuns taught me that in Heaven we will all be happy all the time, know everything, and meet God - what a deal! In fact, that idea kept me from many sins I might have committed as a child and a youth. Not all, mind you, but quite a few. I was determined to get there. Sadly, logic and intellect butted in around age 12 and, little by little, I stopped believing in Heaven.

However, when you are three days into a five day visit with your grandchildren in Boston and you get a call saying your sister is in the hospital in North Carolina having suffered a stroke, as you fly down to visit her, you find yourself hoping that, if she departs this earth, you will find her again some day in Heaven.

The good news is that the stroke was mild and served as a serious wake-up call to my sister. No residual damage to speech or motor skills were detected and her sky-high blood pressure was diagnosed and treated. We had a good ten-day visit, tidied up a whole lot of nagging little errands, and made some arrangements for the future. I was just grateful that she actually has a future.

Once she got home from the hospital, Nancy was in hostess mode despite her illness (early hospitality training is hard to combat), and she refused to let me cook for her even though she didn't really want to cook, either.  So, we ate out a lot, which probably isn't good for her sodium levels but it was good for her soul, which is really more important in the long run. 

We had Greek food, Italian food, American food, comfort food (much needed), fast food, deli food and, since she lives in North Carolina, Southern food, too. The most memorable of these meals was pork barbecue at Stamey's, a local legend in Greensboro, North Carolina. Stamey's has been in business for more than 80 years. 

I ordered a plate of pork and hushpuppies with cole slaw from the menu of perhaps five things. Stamey's knows what they do best and they limit the menu to those few items. The pork was lightly smoked and chopped, relatively tasteless until one sprinkled on the Stamey's sauce, a thin, mildly spicy and vinegary liquid. The same vinegar was used in the cole slaw - this is not the rich, mayonaise-y kind, but rather thin and tart, made with minced rather than shredded cabbage. This treatment of pork barbecue and cole slaw is traditional to North Carolina. The hushpuppies were dense and crisp but I have to admit I've had better ones; these seemed to have been made earlier in the day and held under a heat lamp.

The meal was good, but not heavenly.  The heavenly part was sitting across the booth from my sister, silently rejoicing that I don't have to wait to get to Paradise to talk to her.


Anonymous jann said...

Sister trumps pork every day of the week, for sure. So glad Nancy is doing better and taking care. I know it was a gift to have you there.

Sunday, October 14, 2012  
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Monday, October 15, 2012  
Blogger Anna Haight said...

So glad that your sister came through and you had an enjoyable visit with her. Glad to see you back. I've not gotten back but you inspire me, perhaps I'll get in gear and make a post too.

Smiles across the water

Monday, October 15, 2012  
Blogger namastenancy said...

Blessings and healing light from one Nancy to another. I am glad that your sister's problems were fairly minor. I love my sister too and know that if she were in trouble, I'd rush to her side.

Monday, October 15, 2012  
Blogger katiez said...

So glad your sister came through with few problems... It's scary and reinforces our own mortality when these things happen. My sister was diagnosed with cancer this summer.... I'm looking forward to a few more lunches with her, although not as many as I would like, I'm afraid. Sisters do trump pork.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Jann, it was good for me, too. Reassuring.

Anna, thanks for those smiles. Much needed.

Nancy, sisters are special.

Katiez, I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. i can now imagine how scary it must be for you. Hang in there.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012  

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