It's still unnerving to have someone recognize and approach me in a public place because of my job.
"You work for The Brazil Times, don't you?"
I admit to swallowing hard each time and bracing myself for the unknown before I answer yes.
When the person starts complaining for whatever reason, I wish I had lied. However, that's not part of my personality. So, I maintain a smile, listen and try to help the person resolve their problem to the best of my ability.
When the person seems excited to meet me, I'm always a bit confused about my minute celebrity.
Such was a recent ride in the Clay County Courthouse elevator, when I met a lovely young woman and her two children. During the ride from the third floor down to the main floor and our subsequent walk out to the parking lot, I saw a small glimmer of my own past and a peek into the future of my daughter.
"I can't cook, well at least not very good, but I'm trying to get better. I love your column. My mom and I read it faithfully," she said while balancing a sleepy little girl on her right hip, holding the hand of her spirited son and fighting to keep a diaper bag and purse on her left shoulder. "I've made several of the recipes. I like how you leave wiggle room and tips for us novices to play with the spices."
She told me about her kitchen pet, "Harvey 8," and how she slightly scorched her first attempt to make clam chowder.
"Mom said to shut off the burner and change the pan it was in," she said as we passed the second floor. "It had a slight smoky taste, but my husband thought it was great. He didn't know any better, and mom said if he didn't know I didn't need to tell him."
I learned my father's Biscuit Soup recipe was a favorite at her house and she remedied her family's own version of the "empty cupboard syndrome" (I guess "the guys" like to watch sports in the garage on the weekends) with a People Chow recipe I posted that is mixed with Cheerios, "so there's enough for everyone."
As we parted ways in the parking lot, she asked what I was cooking for dinner that night. I told her my daughter was cooking dinner, but I thought we were having breakfast for supper.
"Oh, how I long for that day," she said with a smile while shifting her little girl to her other hip. "To go home and have dinner waiting on me," she laughed and then asked me, "Do they (meaning children) ever learn how to clean up after themselves?"
I told her the jury was still out on that as far as my children was concerned, but I was hopeful.
After securing her children in the car, parked a few spaces from mine, she waved and left.
Although I don't have a recipe this week to share (At least not yet. I've been too busy with family, job and attempting to achieve a dream on mine, so please accept my apologies), I wanted to share with you a simple idea:
You never know how what you do in this life -- no matter how mundane or grandiose the action -- it has the potential to affect other people's lives.