My parents moved in to their "Independent Living Retirement Community" yesterday. I drove down there after work and helped rip boxes open, looking for a set of sheets. On Sunday, we stopped in so they could show me their apartment which is crammed packed with bright windows overlooking the woods.
A woman from Belgium, Josee Collins, wheeled up to us in the lobby. My father was excited to see her because during an earlier conversation he told her he had been in Belgium during World War II and had built airfields for the Army Engineers. He was in the aviation division. Josee said, "Oh, at Ashe?"
"Yes, we built the airfield at Ashe. How did you know?"
She must have lived near there. She met an American service man, Jim Collins, and married him, coming to America as a War Bride.
I think my dad looks forward to finding out more about Belgium then and now.
But on Sunday, Josee leaned over to me and asked, "Do you know what the secret to sauerkraut is?"
I didn't want to say the first thing that came to mind, which was...it stinks. "No," I admitted.
I stared at her blankly.
She nodded. "I'm serious. Applesauce or fresh apples. It takes the bitterness out."
I've only had sauerkraut twice in my life. I'm thinking they didn't use applesauce. I wonder if this is a secret only she knows, or if the people in Belgium know and simply don't tell the rest of us. Might be worth a try, though.
I'm looking forward to talking with others in my parents new community to see what secrets they hold. This could be quite an education for me.