I have not eaten bacon since 2008 when I decided to lose 82 pounds and took myself off salty fried foods. Over the next seven years, I weaned chicken, pork, and fish out of my diet and have gone 99.95% vegetarian. I sneak the occasional piece of salmon. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
The smell of cooking breakfast always reminds me of my son’s childhood friend Maher Sagrillo. He, Chris Taggart, and Patrick came to be known as “the three cockroaches” in their middle-childhood, the glory days from age 9 to age 12 when hormones hit and parent shame becomes reality. Maher’s Lebanese and Muslim mother served only turkey bacon, and Maher broke the pork barrier in my home, swearing all present to secrecy. I felt wicked, but I had forgotten his presence one day and filled the house with the heady fragrance of eggs and bacon.
Auntie Corinne, he cried, coming into the kitchen. What is that wonderful smell? Caught. In. The. Act.
As I scrambled eggs this morning and waited for the gluten-free toast to brown, the echoes of my son’s childhood friends rose around me. Here is Chris Taggart, ambling through the house with his cheerful grin. Maher, dark, brooding, intense, tender. Patrick with his serious gaze, dividing the juice into three precise portions. Beagles underfoot, a white-and-black cat on the back of the sofa.
The three cockroaches have grown into fine men. Maher, married, owner of a software development company. Chris, announcing a recent promotion, more money, saving for his next move. Patrick, almost done with his Master’s degree, giving me advice on the phone, helping me do a flow-chart of potential outcomes of my various options for handling a sticky problem.
I did not mind giving up bacon. It is delicious, delightful, delectable. But everything changes, our health, our diet, our lives. Children grow into adults. The world turns and our dance evolves. We adjust. The echoes subside though the memories linger.
It is the twenty-ninth day of the twenty-fifth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
A special shout-out to my niece, Lisa Michele Corley Davis, whose birthday is today.