This morning I looked out into my back yard and saw this beauty. This plant, which we call Baby Isabella, struggles through our blazing summers and too cold winters, but hey, look at her now! Gorgeous.
Whenever I see this plant I think of the night we got her. My husband and I had traveled to San Diego for a friend’s wedding, and while we were there we went to the home of my husband’s former co-worker for dinner. It was a lovely evening.
The food was simple but delicious: a cold plate of good meats and cheeses followed by pasta with a walnut pesto and a simple salad. It was low fuss, elegant, and delicious.
Their two pre-teen children showed us their rooms and the many examples of their mother’s art hanging throughout their home, which they were obviously and rightfully proud of, before getting lost in their video games. Later my husband’s friend broke out an old photo album and shared memories of his youth growing up in Portugal.
After dinner we sat in their lovely garden and drank our wine. When we admired a large, flowering plant that arched over our heads, they told us that they planted the plant, an angel’s trumpet, when their daughter Isabella was born, so they always referred to it as Isabella. Before we could stop them, they had cut off a branch and given it to us. Baby Isabella was born.
The next day, against our better judgment, we wrapped the branch in a moist paper towel and plastic bag and stuck it in our suitcase, thinking that surely the plant would be dead in no time, and it would probably even get us in trouble with airport security. Somehow neither of these things occurred. Even more remarkably, when we unceremoniously stuck it in a pot when we got home, it sprouted roots. It has survived more than four years now in our garden.
In many ways that evening represents an ideal in my mind. As hosts, they valued all the right things: 1) quality food that is low maintenance enough to allow for 2) good conversation, which came about because of 3) calm hosts and 4) intimacy. I can so easily forget these things when I am entertaining, getting caught up instead in projecting an image of perfection. I aspire to be more like the parents of Isabella!
© Amy Daniewicz