“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said that perhaps with no particular person in mind. But, I believe he was referring to a friend as special as Michela O’Connor Abrams, a best friend of mine since 1975.
I was reminded just how special of a friendship Michela and I share when, in 108-degree summer heat, she comes to visit us during harvest and inviting us to participate in MOCA-Plus’ Collective Conscience on Monday night. Although we really didn’t expound much on our long-time friendship, I think it was apparent from our fun banter just how much we learn from each other and how much we lean on each other.
In our 45 years of friendship, you can imagine all that we have endured -- the ups and downs (and not just in our weight), fun times and sad times, and successes and obstacles (I refuse to use the word “failures”). It’s been said that friends come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I’m so thankful that God placed Michela in my life on that September 1975 day at UCLA to answer my question why rice is in the salt shaker. From that day on, she became my “lifetime” friend!
Those of you who are also friends with Michela know that Emerson was indeed talking about this special woman. She so easily shares her love as a friend with each one of you, and no doubt, has shown that love via a plate full of fabulous pasta, walking into your home with the latest delicacy from some new boutique, or her delectable chocolate brownies.
She comes by that honestly. Both Michela and I grew up in families that best expressed their love for each other in the kitchen. Our grandparents and parents passed along to us the gift of knowing how to cook, bake, fill plates and tummies with yummy food that provides inner warmth in our bodies, knowing full well it was made with loving hands and hearts. For a happy celebration or a memorial meal for our departed loved ones, Michela and I have been and continue to be most comfortable, feeling most productive, and showing true love for each other best, while working away in the kitchen. Not only that, it’s also very therapeutic to cook and bake! It’s been said, “Eating is nourishment for the body… preparing it is nourishment for the soul.”
So how do you pick a perfect friend? Start with a question about rice in a salt shaker -- or get busy in the kitchen!
Liz, her husband Earl, their grown children and their families make up Hudson Farms, a fifth-and sixth-generation family farm in Sanger, CA.