Last week my husband and I went to a friend’s house for dinner. I offered to get there early and help out. As I’ve already mentioned I love to arrive early. So she put me in charge of making the salad. I LOVE MAKING salad. I love taking those healthy ingredients, cutting them up and mixing them all together to make a divine, delicious, cacophony of tastes and textures. I put the lettuce in the bottom, not a lot because everyone knows the best things about the salad are the extra ingredients not the lettuce itself. I layered the red, green and yellow peppers, the orange carrots, the crimson radish and cherry tomatoes. I added chopped boiled egg, olives, celery and fresh mushrooms. The knife was chopping away as the salad grew. I tossed it all together layering a small spattering of bacon bits (fresh not the faux stuff you buy prepackaged) and topped the bowl off with grated cheese and garlic( again homemade) croutons.
You may ask what about this story proves this person is a true friend. Well as I was getting ready to put away the leftover veggies I asked where she kept her foil and baggies and such. At my house it’s in a drawer that shares space with doggy treats and batteries and sometimes is so full it catches when you open it so you have to stick your hand through the small opening and push the contents down. I don’t often let anyone in the drawer besides family.
“Middle drawer in the island.” She answered; pointing in the direction where said drawer was located.
I pulled open the drawer and there was the most beautifully organized spectacle I had ever seen. Each package was face up so you could read the contents. They were laid out in order of size. Freezer bag to sandwich bag. Next came the foil, plastic wrap and parchment paper. And the coup de résistance was the drawer was so clean. No bread crumbs lurking in the corners, no toothpicks stuck into the crevices along the sides, no small bags of ketchup or soy sauce from the latest take out.
I glanced over at my friend. This unknown neat freak. How could I have not been aware?
“This is amazing.”
“It’s not that special.”
“Are you kidding me? I should take a picture and send it to Better Homes and Gardens.”
And then she said the thing that made me realize how good a friend she really is, “I cleaned it out yesterday ‘cause I knew you were all coming over tonight.”
You see a real friend is honest even if it might destroy the myth. Anyone else would have pretended the drawer was always in such dazzlingly beautiful order. They would have left you thinking that your somehow substandard drawer would never measure up to their immaculately organized one.
“In fact I had to move the doggy treats out just to make room for the foil that was in the pantry and the parchment paper that was on top of the fridge.”
I almost hugged her. But the next day I organized my drawer. As they say, it’s the little things.