Life is going to give you experiences to develop what you need.Wendell Berry
When I met my husband, he was a green young lawyer with a bright young brain. He possessed an uncommon dignity. Newly unencumbered, he was free from a full leg cast via a water skiing mishap.
He gave me an Atticus Finch sort of nod upon an overture. I was on my first day of work, smitten and even greener.
With a fresh master’s degree and a focus on special libraries, I asked a senior partner at Watkins, Pyle, Ludlum and Stennis in Jackson, Mississippi to give me a chance. They had a gleaming library in the center of a high rise with nary a person to tend their massive legal tomes.
As far as I know, I can claim to be the first law librarian in the state though that is just as meager a salute as the comment once bestowed by a friend when she disclosed that the new girl in town was from the nicest family in Shubuta, Mississippi.
The firm manager Janice introduced us. Dalton was tall and serious, exactly my type. As we sashayed to his neighboring office, she elaborated with a stage whisper – “still waters run deep.”
But still at that time was not my modus operandi. Chicken with her head cut off was more to the point.
Thirty seven years later, Dalton still practices law and I am still a librarian. Our venues are different from those days. We have a preference for the rural and are bent toward a simpler life than when we began.
I am grateful to the younger and less green part of myself who discerned stillness as a life goal. To this day, I am rewarded by seeking a balance and long to fill the whole of my personality by taking his lead.
So far we have worked for community and escorted our children through youthful travails of churning emotions and arrogances. We tried to show best form and be there for assurance when a stumble occurred.
And we have always been there for each other. In the beginning, we circled each other’s ego trains. But bit by bit, we perceived that the tender personality of the other was always in need of affection.
We do our best to note the other’s need. Affection is not always appreciated in marriage. Too bad, because its value is unsurpassed.
Life’s losses serve as charitable reminders. It prompts the opening of the heart and silences the ego’s incessant survival chant.
And since loss is a guarantee, there is a continual supply of souvenirs for consideration. Thank God it comes to this – learning empathically from another’s point of view.
So all is good, but far from finished. I found this out during a cold winter when I experienced my first broken bone, an experiential slice from which Dalton graduated long ago.
He escorted me and my sling hither and thither – work and beyond. He washed my hair, he cut my meals into tiny pieces, he anticipated my enjoyment and noted my pain. He monitored my rest and tucked me into a nest every night.
He abandoned himself to ease my journey. His fussiness of spirit became my resurrection.
This path is not direct. Wedding vows gave a clue. Creation knew my swallow.
Over the decades while in his class, I examined parts of myself, tossed some aside, then buried a few. Much has been resurrected and refreshed.
Many days ago, I longed for pieces of Atticus. I am gratified. And still his student.
Dalton’s Fav – The Minute Steak
He was preparing this dish before we met.
His mother Ethel McBee would say that “Dalton is completely charmed by a minute steak.” He does, in fact, take little to satisfy – nothing better than a beer, minute steak and salad.
I recently discovered that “minute or cubed steak” is a general term that can cover most thin cuts of beef. In many cases, round steak or sirloin are utilized. The indentions are created by a tenderizer.
Pieces of minute steak
Preheat the skillet.
Only a minute of two per side because the shorter the cooking time, the more tender the bite.
Share Ms Cook With Your Friends