My first words for the New Year could not be about food. For these last 9 days I only thought about my parted old-time friend Duncan. Food did not inspire me, my fervour to cook dwindled and every time I sat down to write about food words failed me.
Oh Duncan, why were you taken away so brutally from our world? I keep picturing your smiling, radiant face and your birdlike brown eyes; hearing your voice as you glamorously shared our joys and successes and feeling your hug as you understood our disappointments. You pampered us with your gentleness and your stylish way of doing things. You treated us like precious ladies, handled us with care and made sure that we were predominantly smiling. At that tender age you were our gentleman!
Your catering work experience taught us dining etiquette, with your expertise we organised lavish dinners and cooked four-course meals to celebrate special occasions. We followed you in restaurants you were working in and stuck to your menu suggestions. I will always think of you when I mix olive oil with balsamic vinegar and dip my bread in it, or eat, very rarely now, bread with butter and Twistees.
We met you at the Junior College and lived you and your zest for life for years. Our memories are endless and with your parting we all grieved in our own ways and nostalgically, sadly, we recalled the many episodes, adventures and occasions we shared with you during the years we spent honoured by your friendship.
When the time came to chose different paths our friendship became silent and distant yet it remained harboured in our hearts. I was lucky enough to have been in touch these last couple of years and I was flattered to be invited to your wedding and to hear your jubilation as you became Dad for the first time. We exchanged birthday and festive greetings but this time just before I was going to send you my wishes for the New Year I realised that you were gone… harshly… suddenly… defensively…
And this Saturday we had to come to bid you goodbye, without a handshake, a hug or a kiss but surrounded by the odour of chrysanthemums and stunned by the heart-wringing sound of the mourning bells saluting you.
Farewell my friend… part of what I am today I owe it to you! So, regardless of where you are or where I will be, you will remain in a corner of my heart dedicated to you.