Mom took the casserole she’d made the night before out of the refrigerator and placed it on the counter. It looked beautifully creamy and was topped with slightly browned, buttery bread crumbs. Half of it had been eaten. She encouraged, “Taste it.”
I reached into the silverware drawer and selected a fork. The mouthful I scooped up contained shrimp and a filet of fish in a thick, white sauce that tasted of lemon and pepper. I spotted bright slices of carrots and celery. The taste was exciting and exotic, probably owing to the plentiful presence of shrimp. “I’ve got to have the recipe for this!” I enthused.
On the following Thursday, I bought the ingredients needed to make the seafood casserole. Friday was my day off. I spent the afternoon painstakingly following the recipe. By the time my husband came home from work, it was ready to come out of the oven. I set the table and placed bread and butter between our plates and a trivet in the center of the small kitchen table in our mobile home. Carefully using oven mitts, I took the hot dish out of the oven and placed it on the trivet. I proudly announced, “Our supper is ready, Arnie. Come and eat.”
My young husband came and stood behind the chair at his place but didn’t sit down. He stared at the dish in the center of the table. Looking grumpy, Arnie questioned, “What did you make for supper?”
Taking a deep breath of shrimp-scented kitchen air, I explained, “Mom made this dish recently. It has shrimp in it and tastes really good. Try some.”
Seething, Arnie pointed out in a tightly controlled voice, “All I want and expect is a decent supper after working all day. I will not eat seafood casserole.” Picking up a slice of bread, he savagely slapped butter on it. Then he stalked angrily into the living room, all of eight feet away, and sank down on the sofa to glare at me as he stuffed the bread into his mouth. Devastated, I cried.
When Arnie and I had the seafood casserole fight, I cried a lot. We were newlyweds. My feelings were crushed. I genuinely thought my meal was very special and delicious. I wondered, “How could anyone not enjoy the ingredients I had used or recognize the trouble I went through to make it or how proud I was of my culinary creation?”
Hindsight has 2020 vision. After our newlywed spat was over, I took time to think it over. It was crystal clear to me why things went so horribly wrong. Arnie hated casseroles, creamy things and shrimp. He had once told me, “I’m not a picky eater. Just give me meat and potatoes and I’ll be happy.” No, he wasn’t a bit picky; as long as I fed him what he liked!
Fifty years of hindsight has turned my seafood casserole-fueled newlywed spat into a source of much laughter when I tell my children about it. What silly, spoiled little children Arnie and I were!
Hindsight from the turn of the century twenty years ago makes me smile to remember how many people worried about how to properly say the new year. We were used to saying nineteen ninety-nine. Saying two thousand felt so wrong.
The year 2000 started without computers crashing as many people had feared they would. We quickly got used to saying “Two thousand one, two, three, etc.” When 2010 rolled around, we started to say “twenty-ten, twenty-eleven, twenty-twelve, etc. For the last twelve months the number of years counted since the birth of Jesus is 2020. We say it “Twenty-twenty” like an optometrist would describe perfect vision.
A most challenging year is drawing to a close this week. Much time and 2020 hindsight vision will pass before we comprehend what blessings we have been given this year.