In May of this year, many years ago, my first cousin James arrived in my kitchen with a basket filled with cheese from the Ontario Road Market. Sliced cheddar and chunks of blue cheese, Gouda, cheddar and Swiss, it was a humongous mound. I thought he was wild for being at that moment so close to his fiftieth birthday. I proceeded to pick up any snack that James brought, eating a bread basket, a cucumber, a strawberry, a triangle of broccoli and even a dill chip. The larger of the two trays was opened up and I had a large heaping mound of cheese with bits of shellfish. James declared that at this time he was a romantic and did not think he would move back home with his parents until he turned fifty.
I told him this statement was not true, because it was so easy to pull out of the drawer after he said it, and it was all he ever ate.
In my mind, I made room in my mother’s refrigerator for James’ love of cheese, he would somehow come to like and enjoy all the ingredients and you know, pick up a flower or two before he was done.
Our conversation concluded and James asked when I would be going home to my childhood home of Princeton, NJ. I asked him if he would rather be here or in Seattle, and he replied, “Your house is so big, I would say Seattle,” referring to the end of summer and early fall.
He never mentioned the Dairy State again.
Visited James at the Harbor Grill this week, by his grandchildren.
He would have been eighty today.