I knocked a lamp off the table in our entrance hall when I was carrying in groceries the other day. When it fell, the shade separated from its frame, and although Peter tried to glue it, it was a lost cause. I felt a little sad because the lamp and the shade had been my mother’s.
The solution, of course, was a new shade. And that’s how I met Charlotte. Charlotte and her husband own a lamp-shade store not too far from our home. They’ve had the store for thirty-five years. In this day of big box stores, it’s nice to see a mom and pop shop nearby. We brought in the lamp and shade, and within moments, she had three choices for us, all acceptable. We picked her first choice, and could have been on our way.
But she started to talk with us about her life, how she and her husband love the traditional Armenian dishes that she cooks. She talked about some of her “famous” customers. She asked us about our careers. It was a rainy Saturday and we had our usual long list of errands, but we lingered because chatting with her was so much fun.
Charlotte told us about a church supper she is in charge of. We agreed that it was a good day for comfort food. By this time, her husband had joined us, and he was urging her to share her recipes with me. So she described her favorite lentil dish, insisting that it had to be made with orange lentils from a neighboring Armenian store. She wasn’t sure of the amounts because she doesn’t measure her ingredients. She said she would write down the recipes at home and bring them in and that I should call her during the week. She gave me her card and took mine.
I feel like I have a new friend.