Yogi probably had it right when he coined the phrase, “It’s deja vu all over again.” While the Yankee great was talking about watching teammates Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle hit back-to-back home runs, the reality is there are moments that repeat.
A plate of homemade curry chicken, and a long conversation with a friend made me realize reliving some moments is not such a bad thing.
Back in simpler times, when Risa and I were living together, she would occasionally feel inspired and make an Indian style chick pea dish called Chana Masala with roasted turmeric and curry powder. Over the years I’ve tried to replicate it without complete success. Sometimes it comes out better than other times, but never quite the way I remember the dish when Risa made it.
And maybe those memories are crowded out, and just too deep to reach.
The conversation with a friend really wasn’t about grief and grieving – but it was discussed. The recent memories are the easy ones to recall. The months of hospice care, the years of chemo and doctors visits are the last memories, and the first to come to mind. But there was a simpler time…
Before we were married, before the tumor, before the doctors when there was time to share passions and experiences. The chick pea curry was one of them.
Thursday night I needed a quick dinner. 12.0 and I were going to a hockey game, she had a bat mitzvah prep session. 14.5 was staying after school for the drama club and then had homework to do. I had chicken out and thawed with no real plan as to what to do with it.
I was looking through the kitchen for inspiration and found the Indian spices that had settled in the back of the closet. Chicken curry could work for dinner.
Indian cooking wasn’t (and isn’t) my thing, but I figured why not. So I tossed in some onions, some pineapple juice, a little almond milk, cinnamon, turmeric, curry and masala popped the cast iron pan into the oven and 20 minutes later it was dinner.
I didn’t even realize it at the time – but the flavor profile brought me back. There was something familiar about it. Friday afternoon when I ate the leftovers for lunch I realized what it was.
Deja vu all over again. I was back in our tiny apartment upstairs from our landlord with chick peas on the stove.
The times were simpler, the memories are real – and they’re still there. Yeah, the LIRR ran so close to our apartment the house shook when an express whizzed by. And I was constantly doing battle with the village over its byzantine parking regulations. But those were the big problems then – which seem trivial compared to what was just ahead.