by Christine Baker
Here in the deep south, food and love are tied to living a good life. So much of who we are comes from what we produce, cook and eat. Like it or not, we’re tied to the land and all that it gives and takes. Yet, in the course of producing, cooking and eating, loving and living, we can forget there is more. There is residue, something Webster’s dictionary calls a small amount of something that remains after the main part has gone or been taken or used.
I came down with some type of ailment recently and it knocked me off my feet. I would call it the common cold, a sinus infection or just good ole’ allergies, compliments of southern living and all the critters that share my little world. The Doctor called it something else. Well, at least he tried to.
Because of this, I had to go get tested for the newest novelty out in the world, three times in a row, in fact, all deemed negative. As I lay on my sofa, snorting and coughing, I looked up at my mantle and there it was, a big black stain on my oil lamp glass cylinder. It was black soot, a gentle reminder of last year’s storms and subsequent power outages, a reminder that there had been a flame. What was left? It’s called residue.
Next, my eyes shifted to the picture next to the oil lamp, a picture of my three sons, all grown and living good lives. Yet, long ago when I fell in love under the oaks at USL and married a handsome Cajun, these three were but a dream and a prayer. I’ve spent the better part of my life caring, loving, cooking, and teaching them, and if Webster’s definition is right, and I do believe it is, then, what will they see of me when I am gone? What will I leave behind? It’s called residue.
After I fell ill, it was quite a fiasco to see a doctor and get tested. The women who cared for me in the different places I went to for help, the Emergency Room, twice to the After-Hours clinic, numerous trips to two different Pharmacies, all of them left a mark on me. I willingly had to submit to what they had to offer me, four nose swabs, one for the flu and a chest x-ray. None of this was painful, but all very uncomfortable. Three different times I sat and waited to the tick of time, anticipating what news would come.
Every time one of them delivered the results, the answer was the same and the mode of delivery, hidden behind a mask, was one of great adulation, “We don’t get to deliver good news very often these days. You don’t have the virus. Go home, rest and take the meds. You’ll be fine.” They left behind a mark. It’s called residue.
So many things occur on a daily basis that are out of our control. I tell my boys this all the time, “We can’t do anything about other people and the choices they make. These are best left to our Creator. But the things that are under our control, these things that come from our hands and our heart, these are the most important of all. This is what’s left of you when this world fades away. This is your residue.”
As always, Good Eating! Good Loving! Good Living!
Au revoir, mes amis!
P.S. I’m a local writer and author (Who Am I? 31 Days to Discovering Your Identity in Christ, found @ the Amazon Bookstore) who loves all things Louisiana, gardening and Jesus, although not necessarily in that order. You can connect with me on Facebook at Christine Vidrine Baker, From One Woman’s Heart to Another on Facebook and Instagram or at Chriskvbaker@gmail.com