The Celebration of the Life of a Mann


I once wrote a cook book.  This was pre-computer days and I typed it on a IBM Selectric typewriter and it was difficult to hide my corrections made with white out.  You might say that it was a pretty transparent work.  Next I had a small number of copies covered with a sheet of construction paper and “spined”.  The title and dedication were on the cover.  “I Cook, Therefore I Am”.  I thought that the title was absolutely brilliant! Even in those days with a repertoire of Jean Parre, and Best of Bridge recipes, cooking for my loved ones, defined me. 

Yes, I love to cook but I will admit this:  I especially love to cook for an appreciative audience.  I am blessed that D and our children and their significant others are my biggest fans. But back in those days, and I am speaking of a time thirty years ago, I was friends with a man who I dubbed a “Famous Eater” in this same dedication.  He didn’t just enjoy good food, he loved everything about the act of eatingHis appreciation oozed out of him as you watched him eat.  His Caribbean blue eyes glinted, his musician’s hands gestured and his voice, that famous voice-praised.  Not with phrases like “oh, this is good” but with accolades that indicated the he understood why you had prepared it just so.  He got food.

The gift of this cookbook was at a wedding shower that I was hosting.  This man was marrying one of my best friends.  She was (is) a beautiful, vivacious woman but I had a grave concern.  She could not cook in those days.  But oh how she tried.  She wanted to love her new husband with gifts of food and so I decided to help her along.  And so I compiled this cookbook of easy recipes that I knew would please.  I loved them both so much that I wanted her to be able to successfully love him with the offering of food.

The next line of the dedication was this “A Collection of Recipes given to Trish on the occasion of her marriage to David Mann-A Famous Eater”.  I so clearly remember that in Trish’s surprise and excitement, she unwrapped the cookbook and read the dedication like this: “I cook, therefore I am a collection of recipes”.  I recall that we all giggled at her error and yet, I think that her statement is absolutely true.

I was the only female attendant at their wedding-their “Matron of Honour” (matron not maid, because I was married to D).  Trish told me yesterday, that she loves to look at the picture in their home of us all together.  She told me this yesterday, at the memorial service for her husband David.  He had succumbed to cancer of the esophagus.  The irony of this does not sit lightly with me.  Not only was it his voice that was the reason for our becoming acquainted (he was the morning man at Q 94 and I was the Marketing Director for The Keg ‘n Cleaver Restaurant) but his esophagus delivered the food that he delighted in, to nourish his body.

David loved Keg Steaks, but also 529 (where he and his family celebrated birthdays) and Rae and Jerry’s.  Rae and Jerry’s catered the refreshments at his memorial service yesterday.  In fact, they cater every celebration of life service at the church that we attend.  There was a time when I loved their fancy sandwiches but recently I only ever eat them when I am very sad.

I introduced David and Trish to each other.  My D was living in Toronto finishing his degree in foodservice and hospitality at Ryerson.  Trish traveled a lot with her work with Estee Lauder.  David and I often found ourselves together by default.  He once called me to say he had been loaned a motorcycle and wanted to drive to Lockport for a Skinner’s hotdog but it wouldn’t be the same without someone on the back of the bike and Trish was not available.  I was afraid of motorcycles as I had lost two acquaintances in separate accidents but somehow David talked me into it.  He promised me he would drive slowly. Liar. David loved speed.  He loved the wind in his hair.  At that time his car was a Scirocco, so named for a Mediterranean wind that comes from the Sahara and reaches hurricane speeds in North Africa and Southern Europe.  He was fond of quick acceleration times.  I chuckle when I think of this because Trish was the opposite.  As we raised our young children together, she would run alongside the toboggan as it slipped down the hill, for fear of injury to the kids.

D and I and David and Trish have not been close in recent years.  David was our financial planner and we decided that it would be best if we kept the relationship a professional one.  But it was also this:  I try to live my life without grudges but I allowed one to stand between me and Trish.  I believe that she has forgiven me.  I know that I have forgiven her.  David would have wanted this.  I have promised that I will contact her next week as she tries to get back to some normalcy in her life- a life without the father of her children, without the Famous Eater.

Kaths quote: All things ever after. -David Mann

Love-that is all.

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