Basso Profondo

That is a man who has a prominent, dominant voice in opera or other domains. He has a commanding presence. Think Darth Vader’s voice (not the person in the mask) saying “Luke, I am your father.”

It came through like a lightning bolt even though his voice must have had to go through many filters to seem like the mask. I knew his voice right away.

In the early 90’s my father was tasked to consult with an HBCU, an Historic Black College/ University, in southeast Texas. There was an auction he put on, and he bought a special gift for me and I’ll pick it up from my framer later today. Dad is gone for over a year and I treasure the little things he got me from around the world. They are not little things, but big ones like love, inspiration and trust, plus Ferragamo scarves and Italian leather purses, boxes, all kinds of things from every land he touched. Silly things like a plastic Italian chef timer. Turkish Pashmina scarves, lithos I’ll have framed for my office. Funny little things that are endearing and keep him in my heart.

He started me on OXO kitchen tools decades ago, before I was ever diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. He knew, because he knew me.

This, his paintings after age 80, and the charcoal dancer sketch bring together the things we loved, art, dance, imagination, hard-headedness, food, helping the little guy, even rooting for the Bills after…… yes, four failed Superbowl attempts. I stopped wearing my t-shirt 3,000 miles away because I thought I was the curse.

The gift that I found after 25 years is a piece of paper. It is on the personal letterhead of renowned and gifted actor James Earl Jones, and signed, of his recipe for Chilean Sea Bass. It is going on my kitchen wall, way above where my husband can splatter tomato sauce when he decides he wants to make himself spaghetti and meatballs!

I had to get it framed, for Dad, as well as HBCU’s and James Earl Jones. I’ve now a mosaic, a story and framed art in my small kitchen, as well as a plethora of frig magnets from all over the world. Husband says he doesn’t know what I wish for in jewelry so he stops by the airport gift shop and usually gets me something local that wiggles, like a Dungeness crab from San Francisco, and the overseas ones tend to be more sedate. They don’t wiggle like the Indianapolis colt when I open and close the refrigerator.

Oh, the college turned out great. They didn’t need Dad anymore. They found oil on the property. Go figure. I will treasure this piece of paper that took Mr. Jones two seconds to sign. Dad always said we women only wanted to talk about food. He only wanted to talk about work and I was on a college break. The men and boys would not have eaten if not for us. Thank you James Earl Jones and happy cooking! Dee



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