A few years ago, at Easter dinner with my in-laws, I noticed my husband’s grandmother dipping pieces of yellow cake into her glass of soda. She’s a woman of nearly 90 with a preternatural grip for hugs and pinching cheeks but, in this, she was gentle: letting each bite soak into her orange Crush, allowing it to achieve full saturation before popping it in her mouth.
“Ew, Nonna!” someone chuckled in protest. But it was her table and home, and she’d apparently been doing this for years, so no one said much more about it.
Some seasons later, maybe a Thanksgiving, my other nonna-in-law did something similar with her dinner roll, tearing it into strips and letting the red wine from her glass climb up into the bread before eating it. This time, I resolved that I would ask why. But first — wanting my question to come across as the genuine curiosity it was, rather than an accusation of bad table manners — I decided to try it myself.
Those first few dips completely changed the way I eat at family meals. Part of what won me over was the pleasure of the thing itself: Wine-soaked bread is sharp, puckery and delicious, a double hit of fermented tang. But more important, I soon came to realize, was the role it can play in pacing out a marathon meal.
My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
Be bold. Don’t be timid. There is no rehearsal in life. This is it. You get one chance to make the most of each moment because you can never have that moment back. Try new things and new ways of doing things. If you fail, fail spectacularly, then try again.
Don’t fear failure. How else would you learn what works?
Don’t worry about what other people think or say? They have their own crosses to bear and who knows how well they carry on with their own burdens? They have their own lives to live. Let them worry their insecurities and failures. You just focus on what you have control over: yourself.
Do your best. The hell with the rest.
What is the commonality of those listed above? They tried and failed, but never gave up. Be persistent. Be bold. Be you.
All my love, always,