Last night’s dinner was a quick one before I had to go out. It was what we like to call the ‘Louise memorial’ meal.
Louise Pergolini Tucker was my mother and she passed away 11 years ago.
A few days before her birthday my husband Andrew and I went out to the Booths Corner Farmers Market in south-eastern Pennsylvania, where mum lived, to look for some Easter goodies. We came back to the house with chocolates and some homemade-style chicken salad.
You see, Louise was dying and she’d been having a craving. Who would deny a dying woman her last request, right? So Andrew made her a lovely soft roll filled with chicken salad and tomatoes. She enjoyed it slowly, savouring each bite while sitting up in her bed. Then she thanked Andrew and declared that it had really hit the spot.
That chicken salad on a roll turned out to be her last meal. For the next few days she dozed and only woke infrequently. When Louise finally stopped breathing on the morning of her 81st birthday, the 10th of April 2007, Andrew was there holding her hand.
And last night’s dinner in Adelaide showed that the simplest of meals, prepared with love, can evoke a flood of memories and bring a smile to a tear-stained face.