My head hurts.
But I just ran into my friend Andrew at the grocery store during lunch, and that makes anything that’s wrong just a little better.
I’ve known him since he was a baby, just about 24 hours old, and I have loved him since that very minute.
He had bright orange hair and bright blue eyes, and he grew into a laughing freckled little boy, and now he has bright orange hair and bright blue eyes and he is a laughing freckled young man, about to go off to college.
It seems like just five minutes since he nearly grew out of his baptismal gown before he could be baptized, but really it’s been almost 18 years.
I used to babysit him, and when I’d get to the house, he’d be sitting on the front steps, wearing his firefighter pajamas and firehat, and his mother’s snowboots and sunglasses, dressed as a firefighter, waiting for me to arrive.
He was, hands-down, the sweetest kid I’ve ever known.
When I saw him in the grocery today, he had come for “this cheese dip I like” and some flank steak to make beef jerky.
I asked him if he’d ever made beef jerky, or if he had a recipe. He said no, but he likes beef jerky, and he figures he’d like it more if it were flavored like he wants it, and it can’t be that hard.
He’s also whimsical.
So we set off for the meat department and looked through the meat, and ended up asking one of the meat men, who it turns out makes beef jerky all the time, and he gave us an earful. The meat man told him which piece of meat would be best, and told the butcher how to cut it for him, and Andrew was off. We looked at the seasonings, and discussed what to look for for recipes, and I got my cereal and we went our separate ways.
I remembered when I was nearly back to the office to call him and tell him to put the meat in the freezer for a little bit to make it easier to cut in strips, and to cut it with a scissors, and he took the advice easily, because he always wants to know a better way to do things.
Tomorrow night we’re going out to dinner, because Andrew loves to go to dinner, so long ago I started taking him out for Christmas and birthday, and afterwards, I’ll take him to Star Provisions, because he’ll like that – he’ll like the variety of salts and peppers and seasonings, and he’ll like the cuts of meats hanging in the freezer locker, and he’ll like the smelly cheeses.
I’m going to miss that kid when he goes away to college next year.