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Andrea Langworthy's column: For Jean

My friend and her husband have done so much for us since my husband’s back surgery that I want to show them a small token of our appreciation and treat them to dinner.

When she and I spoke on the phone earlier this week, I told her to go to a St. Paul restaurant’s website and check out the menu. Then, I said it was time for me get busy and start working on my column. I said if she could think of a subject for it, I would be appreciative.

I reminded her about the website and added, “I’m dying for a Margherita pizza. It’s been four weeks since I’ve had one.”

“That’s what you should write about,” my friend said. “The things you miss. Or, even better, the things we take for granted.”

She went on to tell me about a mutual friend who recently had surgery and couldn’t drive for awhile. The woman said when she was finally able to get behind the wheel of her car, she was as excited as a little kid.

“You must really miss driving,” my friend said to me. She was right. As I rehashed our conversation later, I had to admit driving was something I took for granted. Never in my life did I picture myself in the passenger seat of a car. In fact, in my high school years, I often tried to talk a date into letting me drive his car.

During our conversation, when my friend mentioned taking things for granted, my mind immediately went to my parents. Two people I miss as much now as when they first passed on. Two people I definitely took for granted.

My friend said she misses her mother who has been gone two years. I hated to do it but felt obligated to tell her it doesn’t get any easier with time as people would have us believe.

“Do you think some day our kids will talk about us like this?” I asked. “We can only hope,” she said.

The restaurant that makes my favorite pizza is one my husband and I frequented after an introduction by my brother and his wife who suggested we meet there for happy hour one holiday season. It became our go-to place to meet our friends. Everyone loved the happy hour Margherita pizzas.

We don’t eat out any more but most Saturdays, as he leaves work, my spouse calls and tells me it’s time to place our order. The person who answers the phone doesn’t request my name or phone number anymore. Instead, she mentions my hubby by name and asks if he’ll be picking it up.

My husband isn’t back to work yet so recent Saturday dinners have been limited to what’s in the freezer — turkey meat loaf, salmon and various soups. They’re favorites, too, but I miss my Margherita masterpieces and readily admit taking them for granted.

They go hand-in-hand, don’t you think? Take something for granted and just like that (snap your fingers here), it’s gone. Then, you miss it so much you’re left with an ache that won’t go away.

I’ve gotten used to sitting in the passenger seat. Soon, I’ll be able to quell the hunger pains for the delicious pizza. But the loss of a loved one? Some aches can never be soothed.

Andrea Langworthy lives in Rosemount