Rick and Monique

Friday, September 26, 2008

Completely Unoriginal Me

Did I tell you that we found Dutch Chocolade Vla in Denver a couple weeks ago? We did. Vla is pudding-ish, but a little lighter. We were so excited I can't begin to describe it. I never thought I'd see such a thing in the United States until an obscure tiny little Dutch shop kitty-corner from Cousin Riekje, owned by a true-blood Dutch woman straight from the Mother Country, carried the delectable treat to the U.S. God Bless that woman! But I got to thinking about my excitement...an emotion rooted in the memory of being in Holland with friends and family, enjoying conversation, laughter and gliding each smooth bite into a delightful part of history.

Monique made Dutch meatballs, mashed potatoes, peas and green beans the two nights ago. Our friends Byron and Annette Harrison and Linda Long arrived at our house two or three hours before dinner and we wanted to make them something special to celebrate their arrival.

Dutch meatballs...I'm not sure why they're particularly "Dutch" except that the mix of spices used are a particularly "Dutch" taste. I love them to be sure, and mixed with a lovely Cote Du Rhone, the feast resonates in memory.

We've experienced more changes than I can imagine. "Mawwage...Mawwage is what bwings us togethaaaa...today. Mawaage, that blessed awangement, the dweam within a dweam..." We quote our favorite movie "The Princess Bride" often and laugh. But Mawage...or Marriage is what brings Monique and I together daily. We wake new every morning but some things do not change. Some things are absolute. I got to thinking about Dutch meatballs and discovered something.

I'll get to the point through my own story. I'm my own man. I relish my ability to be unpredictable. Many of you have heard me say that before. I feel as if I am I guess. I love to be original. I like to discover new ideas, new tastes, my own humor, new actions, new experiences. Most certainly the last few years of our lives have been anything but predictable...then Dutch Meatballs wafted through the air into my nostrils.

Traditions hold lives together and give them meaning. I'm entirely irritated with "ists" and "isms" and other suffixes that elude to a similar meaning...Am I a Calivinist? A pragmatist? A protaganist? Am I a Lutheran or a Weslyan? No, I'm a CHRISTIAN! Duh. I'm a lot of things. However, before I throw the baby out with the bathwater (so to speak), I accept that men and women before me created new ideas about many that I should latch onto. Calvin and Luther were pioneers, Thomas Edison was a pioneer...I can't stop using lamps because I'm sick of history and wish to instead make my own path...I'm certainly not going to throw out a theological idea because I didn't think of it. History means something...I'm not entirely original. I'm at least partially an "ist" as long as I continue to test my "isms" with reality and change my paradigm when necessary. History gives me and my life meaning. I'd be no one if my parents hadn't taught me words, ideas, meanings, verses--all having their own historical significance whether they be embedded prolific printing press, archeological sites, or the paths walked by Christ himself.

I'm my own man, attached a tangible safety line filled with the things that make my life possible. I am original, there's no one who looks like me. But I've got blood pursing through my veins that hails from Nederland and with it comes rites of Dutch passage that include Vla, Gebak, and Dutch meatballs. Someone figured out long ago what makes them particularly good and somehow my mother-in-law inherited the recipe and thus my wife now makes Dutch meatballs. I'm so thankful now that I'm rooted and in some ways, completely unoriginal. Talented hands created an age old recipe the other night. Maybe she throws in her own two-cents worth from time to time and dabbles with the ingredients a bit...maybe...but I don't think so. She cooks Dutch meatballs a certain way, a time-perfected method. She fries, then boils, then spices, then cooks then...it's all there. Taste--always. Enjoy--absolutely. But life and thrill are much more than the experience of new things...they're only meaningful if the people and things and ways of life have meaning and the people, friends and family you love and who love you around you care....The people, ways and things give us history and meaning. My dad warned me never to disparage his good name, meaning part of me isn't original but rooted.

I am the completely blessed and unoriginal me.

No one is an island. One can't give today meaning if you don't tend to your foundation. Your friends won't care if you don't care about them and history will forget you if you don't give it mind. I think we enjoyed the meatballs and potatoes and enjoyed the company of friends, not because we were giving them something brand new, but because we weren't.

Think about that and get back to me will ya?


Joh said...

Dutch Meatballs: gehakballen, I think about: "just one..."
I also remember fork-stab attempts to get more...

mirjam said...

tsja, ze blijven lekker! come over and eat dutch meatballs! They are so lovely:) just as the chocolate, drop, beer, berenburg.....