My mother-in-law is a strange cookie--a combination of control freak and adventuress. This is a woman who blows a gasket if you move her refrigerator magnets askew, but then scans the travel bureaus for tourist warnings, and books a trip to that country pronto.
Her latest trips have taken her to several of the more unstable -Stans and finally to Iran, from whence she just emerged two days ago unscathed and singing its praises. Ahmadinejad be darned, it's so festive over there! But all sarcasm and our sometimes uneven relationship aside, I do have a great deal of respect for this intrepid, self-sufficient, and rather open-minded 75-year-old woman. So my first thanks is for my mother-in-law. I know she loves me, and I love her, despite everything (like how she tried to get Hedgie baptized, for instance! But we won't speak of that now, because this is a thanks not a slam), and I know that I can count on her in a pinch, and besides, she did make Sarge although I'm pretty sure he's largely self-actualized.
She brought us many lovely and interesting things from Iran, but my very favorite is this:
Crackers from the flight! Perfectly un-cracked crackers, carefully saved for Hedgehog! This is one of the wonderful traits of an older generation, a generation for whom war was a reality at home not just something distant, for whom gross excess--of food, of consumer electronics--was the lifestyle of royalty, not regular people. My grandparents were of this generation, and they too saved bits of things for me and my sister. When they traveled upstate and stopped for lunch at the Howard Johnson's, they would always bring us little packages of strawberry jam and honey for a treat. These were people who rinsed out their paper towels and dried and reused them, who never left a scrap of food from a restaurant meal. To this day I feel positively decadent when I don't have a to-go bag of leftovers. Sometimes in a nice restaurant Sarge has to shake his head at me when he sees me gearing up to ask for a risotto doggie bag.
So Thanks Number 2 is for that careful frugality of our earlier generation; let's learn from then in this time of financial worry and instability!
Thanks Number 3 is simply thinking ahead to this evening's meal: hot soup on a cold November night.