This June, I'll travel once again to the Food and Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen, Colorado. For many years, my dear friend Julia Child and I have teamed up to teach classes together at the event; for the past seven years, my daughter, Claudine, has been my cooking partner on stage.
How innocent were these Trees, that in Mist-green May, blown by a prospering breeze, Stood garlanded and gay; Who now in sundown glow Of serious colour clad confront me with their show As though resigned and sad, Trees, who unwhispering stand umber, bronze, gold; Pavilioning the land for one grown tired and old; Elm, chestnut, aspen and pine, I am merged in you, Who tell once more in tones of time, Your foliaged farewell.
It hurt me to be away from him. Some days I went crazy wondering what he was doing. And when I couldn't handle it, I practiced music. I really had Aspen to thank for me being the musician that I was. He drove me to distraction. And that was bad.
I wonder how long it would take him to realize I'm right as sin - it's the rest of the world that's wrong. I'm not even sure how I qualify for admission to Aspen Springs. Does wanting to die equal losing your mind?
I want to be Jacques Pepin. I want to have a nice 50-, 60-year career. I want to be on PBS when I'm 70-something, still kicking it, having a great time, showing up in Aspen to sign cookbooks. I just want to have a nice, big, long career.
Late in August the lure of the mountains becomes irresistible. Seared by the everlasting sunfire, I want to see running water again, embrace a pine tree, cut my initials in the bark of an aspen, get bit by a mosquito, see a mountain bluebird, find a big blue columbine, get lost in the firs, hike above timberline, sunbathe on snow and eat some ice, climb the rocks and stand in the wind at the top of the world on the peak of Tukuhnikivats.
I remembered suddenly that Aspen had always been this way. He sacrificed sleep for me, he risked getting caught out after curfew for me, he scrounged together pennies for me. Aspen's generosity was harder to see because it wasn't as grand as Maxon's, but the heart behind what he gave was so much bigger.