Can gratitude taste like broccoli?

Months ago, when I began my sabbatical it was my father-in-law, Clarence, who helped me with my front yard garden project. It was him who designed the boxes, based on my comments and a few pictures I found (not surpisingly, his are far sturdier than anything you can buy). It was him who cut the lumber and built them in his shop, section by section. It was him who came and spent an entire day installing the boxes, even helping to fill them with nine yards of dirt. As you can imagine, I was very grateful. So I asked him what his favourite vegetable was.

“Steak,” he said.

“Um…I can’t grow that,” I replied. “Anything else?”

After thinking for a moment, he said, “Broccoli. As long as it has cheese sauce.”

“I can’t grow the cheese,” I said, a little bit crestfallen, “but I can definitely grow the broccoli.” And I did.

Here he is at home last week, enjoying his dinner. Notice the broccoli, grown in those fantastic boxes he built, served in a bowl especially for him. Also notice the huge gravy boat full of cheese sauce. I don’t know what gratitude tastes like. But I hope it tastes like broccoli.

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