Saying good-bye in any language has always been very difficult for me. Au revoir, ciao, adieu, arrivederci, salut, see you later, see you soon. They all mean the same thing. I hope that I will see you again. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Yesterday, we said good-bye to Dave Gould in a packed school auditorium. A room packed with childhood friends, college chums, mates, colleagues, former students, and family members. I volunteered to organize this celebration of his life because his wife asked me to and because that is my best way of dealing with grief. Get busy and put off thinking about the hole that will be left behind when I no longer see this person again or get random emails from him. At least not until I reach the other side. Dave will be in my heaven. It wouldn’t be complete without him. If I didn’t invite him in, he would crash the party anyway! Using a press pass. Or sweet-talking his way in.
I put together a slideshow using photos supplied by his wife and daughters, friends, our communications staff at school and various photos I have sitting in the cloud known as Google Photo and Photo Library. The one above is my favorite, I think. This is how I will choose to remember my friend of 35 years. The ultimate prankster, a man who made you think (or THIMK, according to his students), and who loved life and gave it his all. Perfect? Lord, no. No more than any of us are. I heard his wife say more than once “Damn it, David.” At one point, she was so fed up with him for not eating that I came over to give him cooking lessons. I think that it was a ruse on his part just to get me over and to be able to tease me, but making macaroni and cheese with him and chasing her out of the kitchen with a book and glass of wine in hand may have saved her sanity just a bit. I hope so.
I got to say good-bye to him 10 days before he died. I didn’t know it was our final good-bye. Rarely do you know it at the time. But I am so grateful that I had that chance. I had the chance to hug him, kiss him, and say “Gould, I love you, but you are still full of shit.” That always made him laugh. It was high praise. And the truth.
Our final email exchange went like this:
6/24 12:16 pm
ok, ms. e, I’ll treat you to a free lunch if you can tell me who mark sackling was – a hint: obviously he has to do with DA and you would have known him.
good seeing you last nite at ATP – can see why you love the Balsam group so much .. . great music.
Not bad, not bad, and in fact pretty impressive, but not quite there yet. Shouldn’t have given you all those clues in last email – age has made you wiser and savvier! You are right – I was Mark Sackling, Sing was Quartermaine, and you were _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
I am renaming my favorite recipe in honor of my friend. If you are looking for low-calorie, forget it. But if you are looking for comfort, get out the pot and pan.
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
3 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or a mixture of cheddar and Monterey Jack)
Salt, pepper (black or white), ground mustard or Texas Pete sauce can be added. Or a combination of all. Today, I decided to add bacon that had been cooked to crispy and then drained on paper towels.
Cook macaroni in salted, boiling water until it is al dente (for small elbows, about 9 minutes).
Drain, rinse, and set aside.
Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and combine well. Cook for about a minute to remove the flour taste. Gradually add milk and continue to whisk. Cook until the mixture thickens into a creamy roux. Add seasonings and whisk well. Remove from heat.
Add 2-1/2 cups of the cheese and stir until melted and combined.
Put macaroni into a buttered baking pan. (I cooked the bacon in the cast iron pan and left some of the drippings in for flavor, so I didn’t need to butter the pan.) Pour cheese sauce over the macaroni and stir well. (I added the crumbled bacon at this point, reserving some for the top.)
Top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. (My grandmother always topped hers with bread crumbs or crushed crackers.)
Bake in pre-heated 350˚F oven for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is bubbling.