Sunday, June 17, 2007

We need better soup

For a while this winter, I worked for a woman who telecommuted from her house. She had a home office and my job was filing and organizing her mounting paperwork. It was a nice environment, a quiet home with a beautiful garden to look at, and a kitchen so I could heat up my lunch and wash the dish after.

For a while they had a heating problem so it was cool in there sometimes. Hot lunches became a priority.

One day as noon approached, I was working on the computer doing her expense reports and I heard her come up the stairs. She went over to the walk-in pantry and opened the door. There was the clatter of shuffling potato bags, pasta bags crinkling, aluminum cans rattling. She was muttering, obviously looking for something. Finally, in an exasperated sigh, she said, “We need better soup.”

I burst out laughing because I knew exactly how she felt. It’s not just sometimes when the little things are most satisfying. It’s most times.

My life has been blessed with material comforts and adventures beyond compare. I’ve eaten at the world’s finest restaurants. I’ve attended cultural events on Broadway, London, Paris. I’ve seen the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo’s David. While those things are memorable, it’s truly the little luxuries that have been most pleasurable.

Coming out of church Sunday evening, I stopped dead at the door, causing a little pileup. Oops. But I was struck by the beauty of the open space green pastures before me, the healthy cows grazing, the red cardinals singing, the warm air wafting.

The other day I dug an old towel out of the bottom of the laundry closet, my newer, fluffy, pretty ones being in the laundry. As I used the thin, ragged towel, I mused on how luxurious it feels to have a fine towel to dry my face. I even briefly thought about writing a poem entitled “Ode to Fluffy Towels.” And how great does it feel to put on your favorite pajamas out of the dryer? Don’t even get me started.

I have only seen the Mona Lisa once, and at great time and expense. But I use a fluffy towel every day. I put on my favorite pjs every night.

That winter day, my boss went to the grocery store and came back with a shopping basket full of Progresso chicken soups. “There,” she said, stacking an entire panty shelf with a variety of them. For a long time we all enjoyed those tasty, thick soups as the temperatures plunged. It was quite a luxury.

A fluffy towel, a pretty view, singing birds, fresh pajamas…I don’t need Robin Leach to show me the ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,’ when with a little creativity and some appreciation, I can have all of life’s little luxuries at my fingertips. Not when all it takes is better soup.

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