Packed in our car, we three—husband, wife and infant child—are headed east for another academic summer of intensive foreign language study. Both rear-view mirrors are in constant use, as no one can see beyond the boxes of books, belongings and the dual coolers holding the sum of our trip provisions. Precious among the cooler items is a single, large loaf of homemade chocolate-chip, banana bread, a raving party-tray favorite. It makes an exceptionally rich breakfast food. I plan to share part of that one loaf, the first morning out, with a dear friend who always put us up for a night whether we are heading east or west.
Dragging in at a very late hour, my dear friend meets us all graciously, even though we three are damp with sweat from the late June heat. Showers are had. An extra bed with fresh sheets is turned down for us. Husband and child are put to bed. I stay up later still to visit with my friend.
How are you? How did you find this place? Who and how is your new roommate? Are you happy? I did not realized how much I missed my friend until we sit alone together conversing in half whispers. At 2:00 am I patter off to bed, damp again from the heat, overly late conversation and wee hour.
At 10:00 am the next morning, as we finish our breakfast together, I begin repacking the coolers. My friend hints about keeping the rest of the chocolate-chip, banana bread.
“I’ll leave you an extra slice,” I say. My mind fancies itself generous. My heart cramps with stinginess.
“It’s so rich. Do you think it will last in this heat?” my friend gently hints once more.
“Oh, I think it will be okay in the cooler,” I reply turning a deaf ear to his subtle request.
One day and two states later, I open the remaining half loaf to the stench of chocolate-chip-banana-beyond-wine-bread featuring small pockets of foul liquid like unctuous pock marks in a brown field of contaminated soil. Inedible. What a miserly fool I was.
Share often. Give generously.