With the melted yellow cheese from its two rolled tortillas bubbling up like lava into the swamp of spicy brown carne sauce, this plate is a thing of beauty. If I could frame it, I'd hang it on my wall. In our new home. Halfway across the country. Where they don't have enchiladas like these. If they do, I don't know about it. Which, for now, is the same as not having them. I take a bite and taste the flavor of home, soon to be vacated, and of history, soon to be, uh history.
Never can say goodbye. I choke back a tear. No, no ...
A couple of months ago, I wrote that I was selling my house. Or, more accurately, not selling my house, since no one was buying it. I didn't say why I was (not) selling. This is why. And so here I am, performing the Ritual of the Last Times.
The Ritual of the Last Times, of course, is experiencing for the last time as a resident those things you love about your town before you leave it. Hanging out at a favorite nightclub one last time even though you never go out anymore. Jogging down a beloved hike-and-bike trail one last time, although you rarely jogged down it in the first place (but meant to). Driving up a winding road to a majestic city overlook one last time despite it being so long since you've been there you have to ask for directions.
Then, there are the last suppers, the dining one last time at those places close to your heart. These will include some tony dining spots that you've enjoyed with friends and family over the years, the backdrop for anniversaries and birthday parties and celebrations. But, more than those, you'll crave the basics that, closer to the bone (and belly) of everyday life, help to define where you live. In Austin, Texas, the hometown of most of my adult life, it's these enchiladas.