Sunday, April 29, 2012

Always Perfect, Always Beautiful

by Kathy Davis

When I was small the world and everything in it was so beautiful...
I saw love in the faces of my pets, my grandparents and in the faces of Nature. Beach days, downpour days and even flat smoggy days filled seasons and everything  would always  begin again.

Mommy was so beautiful and  glamorous and so was her house. I idolized her from afar. Beauty concealed everything so perfectly. Nobody could have guessed that she was deaf in one ear from having ... In my perfectly beautiful childhood bedroom I took refuge. I learned to block  the noise from the fights through the walls.

Family reunions and revelry would seem to keep the scary times at bay, until I grew and kept becoming. I keep secrets and struggle to always be perfect.
There are cracks in my veneer, yet beauty itself is not the culprit.What is, are the things that were sacrificed  so that the "blocks" would keep what was painful at bay.

And so it is  now that I find love in the face of someone, beach days, downpour days ,Nature and even the flat smoggy days.Everything 
begins again, except now I struggle to retrieve what I at one time lost by keeping pain at bay... Oh and my on going struggle is,to let go of the need to be so perfect and to not allow beauty to get in the way.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Splendid Introduction

By Kathy Davis

My treasured friend who lives a full life in NYC, is someone whom I call a conduit. She is a conduit of the most exalted kind, for she makes the time to bring sentient beings together who would not have had the opportunity to discover one another either by chance or by circumstance. Two of her closest friends since college days have sought refuge with her from abusive marriages.

My friend's home in NYC is a harbor for them and for two precious dogs that needed rescuing. Most evenings,this menage of humans and canines are enjoying one another's company and there is always a beautiful Italian meal prepared lovingly for dinner by her two house guests, both first and second generation Italians.My mouth waters as I am told of the home made raviolis, pizzas,soups and zucchini tureens that are routinely prepared for dinner.

One of the house guests has an Italian born mother who lives in NYC and is in her mid eighties. Her name is Mrs. Mancini and she too cooks splendid culinary Italian creations.My conduit of a friend invited her dear friend Gerty, who is  Jewish and  is also in her mid eighties to dinner in her home so that she and Mrs. Mancini could meet. Gerty was raised in Germany during the Holocaust  and Mrs.Mancini was raised in Mussolini's Italy. Both of these woman were survivors of the second world war, and both  immigrated to America in NYC.

Gerty and Mrs. Mancini  are extraordinary human beings for they lived and survived world war two and triumphed the many heartbreaks and challenges  on the path toward arriving in one's mid eighties. Mrs. Mancini moved to Germany as a little girl, for her father was in the Italian military and she witnessed the attrocities perpetrated by the Nazis while living there.It would take a life time of living, and reaching her eighties before she would meet her kindred spirit of a friend, Gerty.

Both of these women, in spite of and because of their life experiences have a zest for living. What they share is having young spirits by virtue of having remained a part of life and open to new perspectives.Some people become reclusive,isolating themselves from participating in life and doing so, is the kiss of death.Not so, for Gerty and Mrs. Mancini.

My friend the conduit, received a phone call the other night from Mrs. Mancini thanking her for the splendid  introduction to Gerty.The two of them had already gone out on the town and had attended a film at the Tribeca film festival. Gerty of course had just invited Mrs. Mancini into her circle of kindred sprits for one of their regular Friday evening dinner parties, of which some of the gals are in their nineties. One of these fabulous ladies is a former Ziegfield girl and still does Pilates.

Oh how these gals/ladies are my new role models for they are celebrating life and not worrying about when it will all end.My motto has always been that a good dinner party can create the most magic in so many ways. Now all I have to do is to figure out how I can  be  invited to one of Gerty's evenings! I just gotta get to know and "party" with my new role models! Perhaps my friend the conduit can procure my invitation. Oh, the magic of a good dinner party!

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Tiny Tale About Tyre

The ancient city of Tyre, in Phoenician times provided purple dye for the rest of the ancient world. The sea was abundant with an anemone {or urchis} and a substance could be extracted from it to dye garments purple. Tyre became the capitol of the color purple.Oh and yes,there is a recipe from Tyre for baked whitefish that makes me crazy with pleasure in so many ways.

Once upon a time I was a dinner guest in the home of a friend from Tyre, Lebanon, home to the former Phoenicians.All of my senses were in rapture during the course of the evening due to the bountiful meal served on the most exquisite tabelcloth sewn with gold thread by the local women in the mountains.

The Lebanese music billowing to my Westerner's ear seemed exotic/erotic and the white gauzy curtains seemed to dance in rythm. I could feel in every cell, the pulse of a culture with many stories to unveil. This particular evening reminds me of why I so enjoy cultural diversity.

Nothing could prepare me for the theater of the presentation of the main course.A large ceramic platter was placed in between candles with a baked white fish with its head and tail in tact. It was carefully sculpted with a mound of fried onions,garlic,tomatoes,cilantro and crushed walnuts.

Anticipation is the first stage of pleasure,and anyone who understands true pleasure will know that it is best to allow it to build before becoming sated, and so it was with our appetites!

The Phoenicians believed in feasting with the eyes first,and it is something as a hostess that I have borrowed and incorporate into every facet of living that I can.When greeting guests I like to taunt the senses with gobs of candles, a beautifully dressed table, flowers everywhere and of course,the scents of dinner wafting everywhere from my kitchen.