Whenever I see an avocado pit balanced on toothpicks over a jar of water I think of my mother. She always seemed to have one sprouting, with its slim green stalk. I think of her just about every time I cut an avocado around its circumference, pull the two halves away, and whack the pit with my butcher knife to twist it out.
It’s those simple moments that bring long-gone people back into my everyday.
At least thirty years have passed since I’ve left my toaster plugged in. Back in my television production days at the cable company, my boss Brian’s wife departed for work with her toaster still engaged and somehow burned down their kitchen. Now, after the English muffins are done, as I’m yanking the plug from the wall I think of him.
My mother may have been a champ with avocados, but she was a bit casual about housework. It wasn’t my mother but my neighbor Nancy, who had obviously been raised better than I had, who pointed out to me the benefits of washing the sink before you did the dishes.
And just about every time I peel one of those annoying stickers from a piece of fruit I think of Linda. It was lunchtime in the faculty room and I was grousing about the sticker on my apple. When she said that she always removed hers when she washed her fruit, my apple suddenly felt like it had a neon light on it shouting, “UNWASHED! UNWASHED!”