Thank you

meatball memory

Tom Dixon, this post’s for you.

For everyone else: I’m writing about this week’s Friday Night Meatballs on our shiny new blog (eee– thank you, Pinnacle!) at the request of one of our guests, Thomas Dixon. I met Tom at Philadelphia’s Nerd Nite a couple of years ago and we’ve been Facebook friends ever since. When we met, he gave a talk about a most unusual way to use social media. In 2010, he was hit by a car and spent a week in a coma. He woke up with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that affects what’s known as “episodic memory”–the part of the memory that recalls events from a day or two ago. In order to keep things straight, Tom uses a private Twitter account as his “memory”– tweeting the details of his life to himself as he lives it, in order to create a searchable diary. He has written about the experience for Mensa Bulletin and was interviewed about it on NPR affiliate WHYY’s Newsworks.

At the end of a particularly pleasant Friday Night Meatballs, Tom asked me if I would write down some details about the evening to aid his memory.

So, Tom, here’s what I remember:

It was freezing and your bus was late. You called to let me know. I had just finished lighting the candles on the dining-room table. The downstairs was as good as it was going to get–our house will never be mistaken for Martha Stewart’s, but I had at least managed to tidy things up a bit, and my daughter Lucia, who is five, had set the table with my grandmother’s wedding china.

My friend Stephanie (a designer of healing spaces) and her young daughter Olivia arrived first. Next were Katie and John and their toddler son Toby, a happy little guy with hair so blond it’s almost white. You arrived smiling and bearing tiramisu muffins and a bottle of sparkling cider, marveling at how very close our house is to your parents’. You and Steph quickly struck up a conversation and I poured you a glass of cider.

A delicious surprise from the meatball lovers at Mirassou Winery.

A delicious surprise from the meatball lovers at Mirassou Winery.

After much bustle and chatter we fed the kids and got everyone settled: little ones playing in the living room, grownups around a dining room table lit by candles and heaped with bread, salad, pasta, Joe’s homemade meatballs, cider, and wine. (The wine this week was special: the kind folks at Mirassou Winery read about Friday Night Meatballs and sent us two bottles of their delicious Pinot noir!)

We toasted. You told us stories about your tradition of traveling to a new country every year at New Year’s and your recent trip to France (you missed the horrific Charlie Hebdo massacre by just two days). We talked about language learning in Paris and New York, John and Katie’s time in Bolivia, Toby’s glee at being allowed to play with two big kids in the next room, Joe’s hope that Cuban cigars will soon be available in the United States, my latest ideas for articles. You talked of the Fishtown you knew growing up;  while I made coffee in our tiled kitchen with the oddly high cabinets, you and I discussed the ups and downs of the neighborhood’s swift gentrification.

Dessert was a great spread of treats: cake bars made by the amazing Edna at Nook Bakery & Coffee Bar, croissants from Artisan Boulanger Patisserie, and your delicious tiramisu muffins, all accompanied by coffee (with or without rum). We lingered over dessert until the kids, all up past their bedtimes, started to show the warning signs of an imminent meltdown. Lucia wanted to tell you goodbye but was feeling too shy, so she whispered her message in my ear and I delivered it. We bade you goodbye and I headed upstairs to put her to bed as you stepped out into the cold night.

If this helps you remember Friday Night Meatballs, I hope you’ll come and create more memories with us soon.


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