I call her “Dr. Sallie.” Our appointments are sporadic and unscheduled. But somehow I always see her when I need to.
Her gift: cooking tips, encouragement and embarrassment prevention. I got all three earlier this week!
Her office: the cooking display at my grocery store where she prepares recipes for hungry shoppers to sample.
“Hey darlin’, Happy Labor Day,” she calls to me.
Actually I was going to skip stopping at the display since she was busy chopping ingredients for her next culinary concoction. But I figure it wouldn’t take much time to say hello and let her get back to work so I roll my cart over and stop.
“Come here, honey,” Sallie says motioning for me to turn around and lean backward TOWARD her.
Now I’m wondering what’s going on. Soon I feel her tender touch at the back of my neck as she starts to tuck in the tag at the back of my shirt. In case you don’t know, there’s a very important commitment women have with each other. It’s in the unwritten rules in the woman’s code of sisterhood: Thou shalt not let any sister [whether you know her or not] walk around with her shirt or dress tag exposed.
I’m not exactly sure why this is so important but it is – so trust me. Women do this for each other all the time. And Sallie took care of me, so embarrassment avoided. Besides, I certainly don’t want to appear however exposed tags make one appear. Women know these things. It’s in the code.
Soon my friend, whom I’ll call Gloria, rolls up to the action. We share a few laughs and then notice Dr. Sallie is visiting and chopping simultaneously – both with great concentration.
“You know,” my friend says while Dr. Sallie slices eggplant, “I’ve heard that adding salt to eggplant when you cook it makes it less bitter.”
Dr. Sallie agreed and we three chit chatted for a few minutes. I even got Dr. Sallie to let me get our picture together. Yes people stared, but I didn’t care. She is an important woman in my life. She could be enjoying retirement and filling her schedule with other activities but she’s there, routinely behind that “Lucy-like The Psychiatrist is In” stand. She always knows what I need to hear. She’s a survivor – in health, in life and in general.
I thrust the camera into my friend’s hands.
Next I feel a secure mother-like hug as Dr. Sallie obliges pulling me in front of her.
Gloria snaps. We review. Then we shop.
“Thanks for the ‘therapy’,” Gloria says with a smile and a wave as she heads toward the bakery.
What would I do without Dr. Sallie?
I don’t know.
But I’m always glad when “the doctor is in!”