Sunday, April 24, 2011
Waste Not Want Not
Today, Easter Sunday, I went to the egg-hunting gathering and memorial for Cynthia Criley Williams. She was 95 when she left this world on January 29, 2011. I was one of the privileged many who frequented her home in Carmel Highland, right off Highway 1, overlooking Bird Rock (photos taken by your humble blogger).
I joined the flock that came to sit at Cynthia's feet, literally, in 2006 when my friend M took me there for dinner one Saturday evening. I didn't expect anything and no one prepared me for the phenomenal institution called "Cynthia."
Dinner was an informal pot luck sort of thing, with some people chopping vegetables and cooking in the open kitchen, some bringing stuff they either prepared or bought somewhere on the way, and some just hanging around the fireplace with a glass of wine. I didn't know anyone but felt quite at home right away.
The thing I liked the most about that dinner was that every plate, every fork, every knife, every glass and cup that stood on the dinner table were of different design, different set, different size. Cynthia's house was and still is the most down to earth, unpretentious, real place one can enter. A simple paper sign hangs up above the door leading to the hallway, reminding wayward thoughts to align themselves with the important stuff: Waste Not Want Not.
There used to be a time in my previous life that I dreamed of being a housewife whose most challenging decision of the day would be choosing which set of China to use for dinner. Cynthia's dinner table and the sign above the door made me remember that dream and wish it had never tainted the pages of my history.
When I was introduced to Cynthia, she immediately started reciting something in Latin. Of course I had no idea what she was saying. It had something to do with France and the Roman empire and the province of Gallia, which I know near to nothing about, apart from my long-ago encounter with the comic book hero Asterix who lived in Gallia.
Since that night, every time I came to Cynthia house she recited something in Latin for me. And then she would get the dictionary and look for a word, without reaching for reading glasses. Yup, 90 years old and doesn't have to use glasses to read from a dictionary.
Today, many people talked about Cynthia's amazing life and I learned quite a few things I didn't know about her, but kind of felt I knew, because certain things don't need to be said in order to be known.
I feel very privileged and lucky to be a part of the crowd that Cynthia accepted into her home. It is one jewel of an experience I totally cherish.
Thank you Cynthia and the Williams girls (Molly, Honey and Bee) for letting me in. I must have done something right to get there. I only wish I knew what it was so I could do it again.