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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Nostalgia's an Aluminum Pan: Flimsy

This week, I accidentally crashed a golf tournament dinner. I thought I was meeting former colleagues while they had drinks at the club house following their round of golf. Perhaps that was the original intent but by the time I made the slow commute from my office to the golf course, dinner was underway so there was nothing to do but to grab a plate and act as if I’d generously supported the event throughout the day. It was so much fun to see my old colleagues – I’ve missed them. What’s funny is how I’d missed a trio of us, a subset, before I’d ever even left that company - - I missed the “old days” with this group. I’m not really a nostalgic person or one who’s steeped in tradition. Frankly, I think nostalgia’s a con. Recently on Facebook, I read the best quote on the topic of nostalgia, “Nostalgia is overrated, believe in the now.” (Preach, Bill S.!)

I can see why we fall for the con, what once was. It’s often easier than facing the now. We have the benefit of retrospect which tells us that we can handily manage what once was, which is of particular comfort when we’re bumbling through the now. We con ourselves by saying we will recapture what once was. We stay in situations for far too long because of what was, that shared history, desperate to recapture it. By the fall of 2007, the evidence had stacked up and I realized it was time to start my own history so I packed up and began anew around this very time of year. I’d made a rather hasty exit without a roasting pan, as it turns out, which I didn’t realize until the week of Thanksgiving. I figured I could make due with a foil pan from the grocery store. On Thanksgiving morning, I squeezed the turkey into my small oven in my small rental unit. It was the first time I’d cooked a turkey in years, the last time likely being when I lived in Korea and almost killed a fellow soldier with my oyster stuffing (I was young, from the Midwest, and hadn’t learned of shellfish allergies until that very moment). Andrea was working that day and when she came over for Thanksgiving dinner that evening, the small apartment was filled with a thick haze of smoke. Andrea looked puzzled, but took in stride, as I explained that I’d sliced through the flimsy aluminum pan causing the liquid to drip into the oven. That Christmas, Andrea signaled that she was a keeper by buying me a roasting pan. I’m not nostalgic for that tiny oven or flimsy pan but I do chuckle at the memory every year when I pull out my roasting pan. If I hadn’t let go, of the shared experiences, the memories, I wouldn’t have had the moment of humility where I created a new memory by slicing through that aluminum pan.

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