How to peel a boiled egg came to me from the chain-smoking wife of my husband’s high school buddy. They had moved four hours north to Palm Bay, and we had not visited them in several years. As we’re catching up on stories of our families, and watching their Doberman dive to the bottom of their pool to fetch a favorite toy, I noticed a slight tremor in both her hands.
Later, as we were making egg salad sandwiches for lunch, she asked if I knew how to peel them easily. Having botched the peeling of so many boiled eggs over time, I was eager to learn her secret.
“Crack the top of the egg,” she said, “Now, while holding it under a stream of cold tap water, insert the tip of a metal spoon under the shell. Slide the spoon slowly around inside the shell under the running water.” I worked the egg as she directed and to my amazement, it practically peeled itself! I wondered why I had not been taught this magic trick before by my mother, or by anyone! This was too important to not know!
Years later, while visiting friends and relatives along the Treasure Coast, I stopped to visit with the Palm Bay couple. I didn’t recognize my husband’s buddy when I pulled up into their driveway. He stood tall, gaunt, and gray in the shade of the open garage. His clothes hung loose on his fragile frame. We had heard he was battling cancer and that the prognosis was not good. As we hugged our hellos I hid my shock, and the sudden realization that he had very little time left. But it showed, in his dark, hollow eyes.
He guided me into the house and sat down. His wife was sitting on the couch, a wheelchair placed directly in front of her. I climbed around it to give her a hug. She explained that the mystery illness she had suffered all these years had finally been diagnosed; some rare blood disorder. I remembered that during a previous visit, she had complained of increasing problems with her balance, and her husband had to work remotely from home to care for her. I thought, now what? What was she going to do after he was gone?
He left the room to lie down for awhile, explaining the pain gets to him if he sits or stands for too long. I took the opportunity of his absence to gently ask her, “Are you going to stay here, after…?”
She looked at me and answered firmly, “I don’t want to leave my house.”
She explained that arrangements had been made for a neighbor friend to bring her groceries, and someone would come to cook and clean. Her son and his family lived on the west coast, too far away to help.
“I’m so angry,” she said. “He wouldn’t listen to me.” She had gone for a colon cancer screening, but despite her nagging, her husband had not. She said he felt no symptoms until it was too late; the cancer had spread. He was receiving “treatment” but it was just to give him a little more time. Time with her.
He died two weeks after my visit. Their son called and said he would inform us about the funeral. He never called. Last we heard, she had left her house, and had gone to live with her son and his family in theirs.
I sometimes wonder about the legacy we will leave as we move on in life, or in death; those of us of humble circumstances; those of us who will not have a museum named after us. How will we be remembered by our friends and family?
Each time I peel a boiled egg with a metal spoon, so easily under cold running water, I remember my Palm Bay friend. That trick was a gift to me. Her humble legacy.
By Pat Bonner Milone – Redland, Florida
Feature Photo by Annie Spratt
by Zorina Exie Frey
“The Right Way to Self Publish is like the GPS. It not only tells you every twist and turn you will encounter on your journey to Self Publication, but it alerts you when you are about to be confronted with them. It even gives you traffic warnings so you know what to avoid.”
~David Kimball – Writer
- Paperback: 150 pages
- Publisher: IWA Publishing Services / IWA Publications
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1491075988
- ISBN-13: 978-1491075982
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 8 inches