It’s hard to write a column like this when a friend has died. It’s hard to think of much else, to be honest. This friend was someone I met when I was in college in Memphis. His name was Chris. When I met him, he had a bitchin’ Saab convertible, with a top-end cassette deck, and he’d drive us around what at the time was a more or less vacant downtown listening to music and generally being young.

He liked to cook, too, and he spent a fair amount of time at one apartment or another where I was living, in the kitchen with me. He knew barbecue, and Greek food and for a while he was running the show at a restaurant that no longer exists, but for which I still have a tie-dyed t-shirt. Until a few years ago, I also had a big plastic container of jerk seasoning he’d given me from the kitchen.

He was a generous kid; probably too generous. Long after I’d left town, if I came back for one reason or another he’d offer his guest bedroom. I returned the favor a time or three. There are a lot of things I’ll remember, but a couple stick out. One was cooking dinner with him in my kitchen while listening to music, and both of us playing percussion on pots, pans and bowls while still attending to the stuff we were cooking in those vessels. I have no idea what we were making, or whether it turned out well, but I think we probably enjoyed it.

The second was walking from my office on Poydras into the Quarter around this time of year, but a decade or so ago. Chris was in town with a friend, and she was not happy about the heat, or the humidity or the distance we had to walk, so I ended up stopping short of wherever I was taking them, and we ate at the Crescent City Brewhouse. It’s not the first place I’d take guests, but it’s not the last, either, and we all enjoyed it.

I’ve probably written this here before, but I’m sometimes told I don’t look my age. I sure as hell feel it, and never more so than when I lose another friend. I’m not yet 50, so I’ve got a long way to go, I guess, and I hope I’m not giving the impression I’m not looking forward to it. I will love watching my kids grow up, and I will love growing old with my wife and eventually I will love switching my consciousness into the cyborg/robot body that I am assured by the internet is waiting for me at the end of things.

I will love gardening into my dotage. I will love seeing how technology enriches our lives and be guilty of schadenfreude when it degrades us all. I will love experiencing new tastes, aromas and cooking as often as I can for my family and friends.

I’m bending, is what I’m saying, but I ain’t breaking.

I know this is not the most food-centric post you’ve read at Haute Plates Light Industry and Ball Bearing Production Company, but I hope you’ll forgive me. It’s been a rough week, and I’ll be back to writing more about food and cooking when you next grace me with your presence here.

Thanks for your patience, and for your time.