I have a recipe for you. It's tangy and zangy and zippy and I promise you will like it.
But first I must reminisce about a friend who was an excellent cook. I dined with her on many occasions, usually walking away thinking that I really needed to get her recipe for another scrumptious treat she had made. She is gone now and I have only one of her recipes. The irony? The name of it - Confetti Pasta Salad.
The definition of confetti goes something like this, "enhances the gaiety of a festive event . . . carnivals, weddings, parades."
Marianne was born twenty-three years before me. She was twenty-nine and I was six when we met. Marianne was my Girl's in Action leader at church. I remember slumber parties at her house and baking cookies for the nursing home. As a child I remember hearing the women of our church speaking of her miscarriages, one after another for ten years before she was blessed with rocking her firstborn, a son. A year later, the added blessing of a baby girl. That baby girl would one day babysit my own little girls.
When Gregg and I married, Marianne and her husband were the first to treat us as adults. She left my childhood in the past and gave me my first "duties" at church. I never remember a time that Marianne was on the outside looking in. We did not always get along. Probably because in the grand scheme of things we were two peas in a pod, and sometimes there is only room for one (at least that's what peas like us think).
In 2004 Marianne was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and by the spring of 2005 she was face to face with Jesus.
"Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it."
W. Somerset Maugham
Marianne was never dull or dreary, not even in the last days of her life. She would not have liked that quote. She faced the giant of death as she did all other giants in her life - she put it in it's place.
I never got the opportunity to comfort her - I would cry and she would comfort. I sat at her bedside less than twenty-four hours before she died. Pain medication made her speech slurred and she rambled some, and nothing could hide the regret she had that she would never know the ones who would love and marry her children and that she would never hold a grandchild.
Marianne taught me many things from the years of being my teacher to my mentor. By her example I learned what to be, and she would not mind me saying - I learned some ways not to be. Even with her no longer here I catch myself wondering, in certain situations, what she would do. There are times I want to respond exactly how she would and other times I know to run in the opposite direction. But aren't those the only kind of friends worth having? The ones that let you see who they really are - and you love them anyway, and they you.
She was kind with high expectations, stubborn with high expectations, gracious with high expectations, and critical with high expectations. She was loving and she was my friend. All that mushed up together made one incredible and real woman.
Marianne was a Christian, a musician, a seamtress, a gardner, a mother, a wife, and a cook. She "enhanced the gaiety of life." See the irony? Confetti Pasta Salad, my one and only recipe from her. Life's sense of humor. Good thing I've got the memories.
Miss you, Marianne. Keep a bowl of pasta waiting and one day we'll catch up.
"The only service a friend can really render is to keep up your courage by holding up to you a mirror in which you can see a noble image of yourself." - G. B. Shaw
Marianne's Confetti Pasta Salad
12 oz. Vermicelli pasta, cooked and drained
1/2 bottle (2.62 oz.) Salad Supreme seasoning
1 pkg. dry Italian dressing mix
1 1/2 c. Italian salad dressing
1c. chopped green pepper
1 small chopped purple onion
1 flat can chopped black olives
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
In large bowl mix cooked vermicelli with all above ingredients. Toss well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Toss several times while it marinates. Add more liquid dressing if dry. serves 12.