The Power of Potato Salad

By R.L. Witter

After more than two years and learning the true meaning of cabin fever, we have taken small steps to get back to some form of pre-COVID normalcy. We’ve taken a short road trip and stayed in a hotel, eaten on restaurant patios a few times, and FINALLY are seeing friends and loved ones in person again.

We began in April with a Sunday dinner on the patio. Hubby got on the grill. Throughout the day we engagedour four guests in games of Phase 10, Spades, Culture Tags, and Black Card Revoked. As the evening began to wind down and we cleaned up, one of the fellas looked both left and right, then leaned down and in nearly a whisper asked, “Is it okay if I take home some of that potato salad?” I smiled and retrieved a container for him. As he filled the container he said, “Lady, I haven’t had your potato salad in two years. This made my day!” He gave me a hug as he topped off the container with some of Hubby’s barbeque.

In May we had planned a Memorial Day cookout but unforeseen circumstances made us unable to host at our house. Everyone was disappointed as we planned to watch a movie in the backyard that night, but some of our dearest friends stepped up and volunteered to host the cookout at their home. When I called Sunday night to ask what time and if they wanted us to bring the projector and movie screen, my friend laughed and said, “Don’t worry about the movie but you need to come early so you can make the potato salad. I know it’s too hot in your kitchen so I’ll make room for you to do your thing. Oh, and I’m buying some extra potatoes so we can have some extra over here for Tuesday.” I thanked her and don’t you know we had a blast Monday morning cutting up and laughing as I made the potato salad at her house. It wasn’t easy to keep my secrets from her, but I managed.

June came, and along with it, Juneteenth and Father’s Day. We all looked forward to being together. I called a friend who hadn’t socialized much since losing his mother last year. I invited him to the festivities, but he was hesitant to commit to attending. I reminded him he is loved and would be missed and left it at that. Well, imagine my joy and surprise when he arrived to celebrate! We fussed over him. The fellas offered him various cuts of meat and cold drinks; the ladies offered to make his plate and we were all thrilled to see him. I asked what changed his mind. He smiled and said, “I heard you were making potato salad.”

As we get out and get together this summer, take a moment to appreciate the blessing of friends, family, and togetherness. Make folks feel welcome, savor the flavors, and don’t forget my invite; I’ll be glad to bring the potato salad.