I was making chili the other night and besides being grateful that no native Texan would be eating my Northern-based chili, I thought about music. I kept tasting the mix and as I did, I caught the different tones, notes if you will.
There was plenty of soprano—piquancy—because of all the tomatoes. (Texas chili shuns tomatoes) Alto range was covered by the molasses and the cumin. Alto seems to me round and warm, sweet but not too sweet. Tenor, the heat—chilies, jalapeno…somehow tenor snaps the eyes open and makes one pay attention.
What my chili lacked, I decided, was bass, darkness…base! It needed something. There was enough meat, but I think I didn’t brown it hard, dark enough.
I added some soy sauce, but that made it too salty. Worcestershire sauce which helped some but I never got it quite right.
Chili, like watermelons and sermons get judged at our house: Was it good? Great? So-so? The best one this year? This chili was barely ho hum.
Memorable chili, like everything else, needs to be perfectly balanced.
Friendships are like that. In our careless use of the term friend, we say we have many, but great friendships come along only once or twice in a lifetime.
While the relationship will not be free of tension—indeed if it were it would not be perfectly balanced, it will have a solid bass. At least one aspect of the friendship will be rock-solid, stable. And from that place, or note, the other components will bring themselves into relative pitch.
Friendship components which I believe need to be nearly equal for a pleasing harmony include intellectual, spiritual, and philosophical, in terms of passion and rationally developed positions.
Friends may disagree—be poles apart—if they can respect the perceptions of the other.
This is from a journal entry from November 12, 1993