Dinner for Two by Sharon Farmer from Sun City, Arizona
I stood in the kitchen, preparing a dinner of meatloaf and loaded baked potatoes for my husband, Nick, and me. I’d loved cooking ever since I took home the Crisco Home Economics award in high school and had enjoyed making hearty meals throughout 50 years of marriage. Well, almost 50 years. Our wedding anniversary was coming up, just a few days after Valentine’s Day. I’d been excited to plan a delicious meal for our romantic evening, but now I wasn’t even feeling the joy of cooking a meatloaf.
A few days before, I’d seen a talk show segment about calculating how many dinners one had made. After subtracting the weekly night Nick cooked, takeout meals and dinners out, I had my number: 17,000! The number left me feeling exhausted and not in the mindset to be in the kitchen.
The oven timer dinged, and I tested the meatloaf. It was saltier than I liked. I sighed and turned to prepare the condiments for the loaded baked potatoes. I opened the new carton of sour cream and stopped. There on the top of the cream was a perfectly raised heart. Or was it the shape of angel wings?
I returned to cooking with renewed energy. And sure enough, Nick proclaimed that meatloaf one of my best. Just wait till he tasted the anniversary dinner I had in mind for us valentines. My angel sous-chef and I had big plans.
Why I Love Mondays by Pat LoPresti from Summerville, South Carolina
I walked into Trident Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina, where I’d volunteered every Thursday for the past 15 years. We’d been furloughed because of the pandemic, but today the hospital welcomed all us volunteers back with a party. It was so good to see familiar faces as well as the people who’d worked on other days.
I met a man named Ron, who took a shift on Wednesdays after his wife passed away. I’d lost my husband of 56 years, so I understood Ron’s pain. With all the volunteers returning, the hospital created new schedules. Ron and I both got assigned to Mondays—Ron in the morning and me in the afternoon—so we shared lunch between our shifts. One afternoon, Ron asked for my phone number. He took me to one of the nicest restaurants in town.