The Joy of Life: Holiday leftovers, a bridge in time

I prefer to write my column only when I am inspired. But I have to admit, last week, I was stuck.

I tried picking my wife’s brain as our new Roomba (a Christmas gift from my parents) wurred by in the background.

“I don’t know. Write about Owen’s new toys,” she said.

Yes, there was definitely something joyful in watching my son play with his toys from Christmas. I ran up to my office and started typing.

As the clicking of my laptop’s keys slowed down I figured I needed fuel to keep the ideas flowing.

I went back down and grabbed some leftover cranberry bread that my Aunt Madaline brought to Christmas dinner. I played with my son for a bit (for the sake of research) and ran back upstairs and continued typing.

I Googled experts on children’s toys…I wondered if they also played for the sake of their research. Then I outlined my article.

Now I was getting somewhere. But I needed to keep my traction and it was lunchtime. So, I headed back down to the fridge and pulled out some leftover pasta salad that my mom made for Christmas Day. I prepared plates for my wife and me as we once again discussed Owen’s new toys.

Once the plates were cleared, I ran back up and resumed typing. The column was taking shape. It had some nice ideas and a few puns that I was proud of, but I needed a philosophical angle.

I went looking for it in the gingerbread house that I made on Christmas Eve.

After reducing the house to a gingerbread lean-to, it hit me! I should write a column about the joy of leftovers!

Not just the joy of having a fully stocked fridge for free or the wonderful taste of holiday desserts like “death by chocolate.” There is a deeper level.

Whenever I am given a doggie bag, I make a valiant – Herculean effort even – to finish the food out of respect because holiday leftovers, specifically, are a bridge in time.

The food is made in one place in time – the present – while the cook has one eye on the past, honoring loved ones as they follow in their footsteps and use their recipes, and one eye on the future.

The goodies are made for friends and family to enjoy as the next set of holidays carry them into the unknown.

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About genemyers

Gene Myers is a New Jersey poet, music journalist and columnist who learned to walk twice. His weekly column is called The Joy of Life. He was awarded first place in Arts and Entertainment Writing by The New Jersey Press Association.
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