Tuesday, May 3, 2016

There is Sodium in Sweat

We picked up this souvenir in Venice, Italy almost exactly 13 years ago. It was May 2003 and our lives were changing. Just over a year and a half earlier, terrorists had forever altered our level of security, of safety, and air travel as we knew it. After jumping through new and countless hoops in various airports, we enjoyed touring the country, with Venice being our last stop. Our plan was to start a family upon our return, to settle down, to get serious, to think about something and someone other than ourselves. 

We possibly brought back more than this salt cellar from Italy, though we didn’t claim anything else on the customs forms. Over the couple of months following our return to the U.S., we would experience the high of learning we were pregnant and the low of discovering the meaning of the word “not viable.”

Eventually we were blessed with another pregnancy, this time quite viable, and that product is a happy fifth grader now.

The salt cellar has sat on our kitchen counter now for 13 years. It’s endured one move, several trips in the dishwasher, and countless close calls of being knocked off the counter or having something dropped on it. You’d think when I look at it, I would immediately be taken back to those cobble-stoned streets, the smell of fresh produce from the marketplace, the sound of a group of old ladies laughing in an alley, the smell of an unfiltered cigarette. You’d think my palate would conjure the tastes of homemade pasta, the freshest tomato sauce, the most delicate pastries, and the depth of wine made and consumed all within a ten-mile radius.

But instead, when I see this salt cellar, I usually want to strangle my husband. You see, he uses it 95% of the time and I always know when he’s been in it because there’s salt everywhere. Everywhere. He’s a great cook. Ask anyone who’s had his food. It comes naturally and easy for him and he actually seems to enjoy it. In the kitchen, he’s Hendrix with a guitar, Shakespeare with a pen (sorry, Bill, a quill), and Edison with a light bulb all rolled into one. But when he gets salt from this salt cellar, he reaches in, obtains a healthy pinch, carries it to an awaiting vessel and then sprinkles the salt from some distance above the dish. The result is, you guessed it, salt.  Everywhere.

And I can deal with the salt on the countertops and the floor. I clean often enough that I can usually stay on top of that part. What I will describe on our divorce papers is the residual salt left behind on the lid of the cellar. I know, it’s a first world problem for sure, yet it still drives me nuts (a reward for you finishing this article awaits at the end). It makes me crazy because, during the 5% of the time that I use this device, never once have I left behind a grain of salt. I know to carry the food to the cellar or the cellar to the food to avoid the countertop and floor distribution. And I learned pretty quickly that a quick brushing of the fingers over the sink or a rinse will prevent salt from being left on the lid when you replace it. My sunshine has not yet worked this out.

But let me tell you what will, at least temporarily, allow me to overlook this transgression:

That’s a dear friend of our family up there in that urn. We attended the memorial service yesterday afternoon. And this morning, when I looked over at the salt cellar and saw it covered in salt, I just smiled. Because I have another day with my sunshine and the good Lord has given me another day walking around this marble, so, at least today, I will choose to not sweat the small stuff.

The reward:  a joke. Enjoy.

A pirate walks into a bar with a ship's steering wheel attached to the front of his pants. The bartender asks, "what's going on there, pal?" The pirate replies, "I don't know but it's drivin' me nuts."