The anticipatory joy on Carlen's face as she reaches for her plate is absolutely adorable. As I've mentioned, food features prominently in many of my memories, so I totally get that expression! I had only a vague recollection of what her family members looked like so when I saw this on Colington Cafe's website, the immediate recognition made me gasp and memories of her kind, garrulous Irish father and beautiful French (bonus points!) mother flooded my heart.
It was Helen Sullivan that helped my mother paint the old, heavy, round kitchen table that my mother had bought at a junk shop and which is my favorite piece of furniture in my father's house today. They painted it yellow and Helen painted fruit all around the border. (Then my brother Jimmy defaced it by carving his initials in it. He maintains that he was framed. Sure. He also wonders why the hell can't I let it go and stop telling the story.)
As a child, I sensed, and was grateful for, the support that our family friends provided us while (and after) my Dad was a POW. The Carvers, Armstrongs, Beattys, Wengers, Kirkpatricks, Bordones among others... (Not to mention the other POW families. Sharing that experience is pretty damn bonding.) Maybe that's why I feel tremendously sentimental about them and spend more time than might be normal thinking about them. What's normal anyway, right? The Sullivans are right up there at the top of the Beloved Friends list. My parents had exceptional taste now that I think of it. Wonderful people all.