“Peace be with you.”
Those were the only words I spoke to the frail-looking old woman in a wheelchair. It was during an evening service at a cathedral on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, an observance known as “passing the peace” during which those in attendance circulate and wish each other God’s peace. I had spied the woman nearby, and somehow I had an inkling about her. I knew that the person I thought she was had an association with the place. Later on, I heard someone call her by name, and I knew I’d been right.
It was Madeleine L’Engle.
Touching the hand of an author whose works I’d loved so much as a child (and look forward to reading to my own children) is one of those cherished magical memories that made my time in New York so wonderful. While I love the place I live now, there is a unique wonder to the Big Apple that I miss.
But back to Madeleine L’Engle. “A Wrinkle in Time” is rightly hailed as a classic of children’s literature. Its combination of science fiction, fantasy and spirituality struck me the first time I read it, and its story and imagery are masterful. If there is a more chilling vision of nightmarish conformity than Camazotz, I can’t think of it.
Sometime in my younger adulthood, I chose to read it again. As I happily turned the pages, I noted that Charles Wallace (one of the central characters) is fond of liverwurst and cream cheese sandwiches. I had never had such a sandwich myself, but I thought it sounded delicious. Shortly thereafter, I found myself in a deli and happily ordered my first such sandwich. I was right, it was delicious. It’s become a favorite of mine, though I’m picky about how thinly-sliced the liverwurst needs to be.
The magic of Mrs. Which and an enjoyable lunch idea, all from one delightful book.
So that’s this week’s Question (to which I have a related idea for next week) — are there any foods you’ve discovered through art or entertainment? Did you watch “Tampopo” (you should watch “Tampopo”) and seek out real ramen? Is there some meal you’ve learned about or tried because of a book or television show or some such? (Please note: If your answer comes from “Hannibal,” you missed your chance.)