My friend Janet's Daddy died this morning in Dothan, Alabama. I am sad. He was very sick (with Cancer).
This is a food memory of sorts. It's in honor of one hell of a man.
But first let me tell you about my sister Janet. Janet Lynn Davis (that other name) Richardson has been my adopted sister for 30 years. We met the first week of graduate school at Auburn University, when I was a scared to death, woefully unprepared, and at least four years younger than all my classmates. She and I became fast friends, and from the beginning, we shared a love of Julia Child, the Manhattan Transfer, and The Music Man. I can and have told her anything and everything, since I don't have any sisters and I get to choose mine. (I recently sent an email to Janet via her REAL sister Gail, noting I'm the sister she never met..)
Some of our best memories revolve around food and drink. Like the time we went into a nameless liquor store in Columbus, Georgia, on a Saturday morning looking for Riunite (Reunite on ice...very nice) for an Oxtail Soup Party at Johnny Garrison's house that night. We asked for two bottles, and the clerk looked at the two of us, and said with a straight face, "would you like those chilled?"
Janet looked at this guy with a straight face and said, "Do you have any straws?"
We also used to have this routine: I'd say, "You ain't nothin but a two-bit ho" and she'd said, "shut up or I'll hit you with my bag or quarters".
Recipes, music, opera, backgammon, runs to Columbus, "the little stable boy." Dim Sum, peaches, venison, bagels, BODYGETTA! (war damn eagle), Germany, Penzeys Spices, Tortilla, all things Spanish, kitchen gadgets...Janet and I share so much. We've had periods when we drifted out of touch, but reconnecting has always been like one of us has been out of the room for five minutes. We can talk for hours.
in 1980, a few weeks after I married my first husband, Janet married Don Richardson. He is one of the best professors I ever studied with (Psych of Communication, Fall 1977, AU). I love him almost as much as I love her (which in case you haven't guessed, is a hell of a lot). One thing I love is their anniversary tradition -- they always have pizza because that is what they ate as their wedding dinner. They performed a hilarious "reader's theater" derived from "The Princess Bride" at our wedding. It brought down the house, especially when Don broke into his imitation of Peter Cook with "Mawwige...." and "Twue Wuve."
One of my favorite food memories is from 1978, when Janet's Daddy, Col. Ed Davis, was in Columbus for some Army business. I have always called Janet's parents, "The Col. and Jimmie." Well, they were stationed in Washington then, near the end of The Colonel's career, and he called Janet to meet him at our favorite Chinese place in Columbus. She let me go along.
We're eating wonderful Chinese food and talking about stuff, and The Colonel tells a story about eating the food in Vietnam in his earlier, distinguished military career. A Vietnamese officer offered Ed pigeon during a meal, offering the most honored treat to him as a, well, honored guest. And, as the the Colonel put it, with an earnest voice, "I had to tell him with regret that Col. Davis did not wish to suck the brains out of the pigeon."
I am holding all the lovely people who love Ed Davis in my heart, my thoughts, and my prayers today. I know this is a sad time. But I know I will never forget him. I am blessed to be a part of his extended, albeit adopted, family.
I'm not there with you Janet, in person, but I am there. You know that.
Much love, Ging
Janet sent me this note today: I wanted to share:
On Friday afternoon, the minister who was to give the eulogy came to
talk to us all, fishing for anecdotes to include in his remarks to the
I read him your blog posting about Daddy's squeamish stomach in
Vietnam. Bob (the minister) thought it was hilarious. Even after mother said
she didn't think he ought to use it, he did. He read it verbatim during
the eulogy, citing "Janet's best friend Ginger" as the author. It was the
hit of the eulogy. Thanks so much for sharing. Gail was even able to
remember the name of the officer who invited Daddy to dinner at his house.
(Don't ask me to try to spell it.) She said the one pigeon was the centerpiece of
a meal for 8 people!