In the newspaper office yesterday morning, Sophie asked me the best question I have ever been asked.
I was at my computer and Sophie was at her computer and she turned to me with her beautifully lipsticked red lips and her gorgeous tortoise shell glasses and she addressed me as “Miss Mary” because that is how Sophie often addresses me and I love that and she said:
“Miss Mary,” she said, “I made paleo chocolate-banana muffins last night. I have them in my knapsack. Would you like one?”
I know what you’re thinking. “That’s the best question you’ve ever been asked?? What about ‘Will you marry me?’ What about ‘What do you want for Christmas, little girl?'”
No, no, no. Sure, the proposal was great, but we know how that turned out. And Santa? Please. He’s creepy and you never really get what you want, anyway. What you want for Christmas is for peace on Earth and to be deeply, purely, supremely happy forever, which is impossible. No, a question can’t be perfect unless the answer is a) easy to give and b) certain not to ruin lives, regardless of what that answer is. Let’s look at Sophie’s question again:
“I made paleo chocolate-banana muffins last night. I have them in my knapsack. Would you like one?”
Saying yes to this is easy because Sophie’s baked goods are made of unicorns and nutrition. But even if I didn’t want to eat one of these (perfect-for-my-ruined-guts) muffins, no lives would be ruined. So, you see? A perfect question.
When I took a bite of that muffin, I broke into the biggest smile. I actually started laughing, that’s how good it was. Its consistency? Angelic. The chocolate-to-banana flavor relationship? Harmonious. My only complaint? Too small.
How I needed that muffin moment! How I needed Sophie’s unicorns and nutrition. I was coming out of my funk and this was the final, gentle push. I know, I know: It was a freakin’ muffin. But the timing. The timing, you guys.
Eating that baked good — it took three bites and then I licked the paper — I felt like a baby trying chocolate for the first time. That’s how great. And I knew about that feeling because of the picture you see above.
That’s me up there, out at the farm in Iowa, in the Yellow House. I’m pretty sure the photo is capturing my first chocolate experience, though Mom could say for sure. When I ate Sophie’s muffin yesterday, I was instantly reminded of this photo of myself — there’s actually a series of them. I emailed Mom for the picture, apologizing for the random request. But I felt the only way for me to express my gratitude to Sophie and her gift was to show her that picture, show her how she gave me more than a baked good. She gave me a memory of joy.
Mom wrote back right away:
“Hi, honey. Mark and I just arrived on Washington Island…but I have that picture on my hard drive. Tell Sophie hi. Love, Mom.”