Post Camino #20 – Bill, you’re a PILGRIM!

I had my first big test last night.

Our son drove up from Sydney to stay with us for a couple of days. Lately he's been cooking, and he's developing into a bit of a Jamie Oliver/Gordon Ramsay, depending on his mood.

He cooked for my wife and me last night – pork chops in a beautiful onion and garlic based sauce, with crunched Italian styled potatoes with fennel. We sat down and had a great dinner together.

We then went into our tv room and watched Django Unchained, the Tarantino movie. (very disappointing, except for Samuel L Jackson who was brilliant.)

While watching the movie my son said he'd go and heat up the remaining chop, which he did. Then he came back and we kept watching the movie.

After about half an hour, my wife sniffed the air. Did you leave anything on the stove? she asked.

Our son raced out into the kitchen, as did my wife and I.

We could hardly see 2ft in front of our noses, there was so much smoke. He'd turned the hot plate up to maximum heat, and the pork chop in the Le Cruset pan was cinder-ized.

Fortunately the kitchen hadn't caught fire, but that was only minutes away.

I wasn't worried about the chop, I was worried about the pan, because they have enamel bases, and if they're left on high heat, they can crack, and they're useless.

I looked at the bottom of the pan and it was charred and black.

I was furious.

I bit down hard and we went back to watching the film, which now held even less interest for me.

My wife could see that I was fuming –

Our son started to apologise, but I was wasn't listening. I went online and looked up the replacement value of that particular pan. $363. Nooooooo.

The film now held absolutely no interest at all. As Django started shooting up bad guys and blood started spurting everywhere, Tarantino style, all I wanted to do was get that enamel pan and bang it over my son's head.

It brought back all the times in the past when he and I had clashed. He knew it, and I knew it.

My wife looked across at me, reading the warning signs. She hissed at me –

Bill, remember you're a PILGRIM!

I thought of the Camino. The Meseta in fact, early one morning, the air crisp and the sun just rising over a wide flat plain.

And I relaxed.

What was a pan? Our son had just driven four hours from Sydney to cook us a gorgeous meal. And now we were all sitting together enjoying just being in the same room.

So what if I had to trash the pan? It was more important that our son had made the effort to come and see us, and cook us a meal.

At that moment I felt an overwhelming sense of love for him.

Later, after the movie, my wife went into the kitchen, put on some industrial strength gloves and began scrubbing, trying to give the pan emergency roadside assistance.

My son and I sat and talked, dissecting the movie and talking about the relative merits of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and Jackie Brown.

Underneath it though, we were making amends. Both of us saying sorry, sub-texturally, both of us telling the other we loved them.

The pan eventually was revived, to live another day and cook another pork chop. My son and I agreed that the movie we'd just watched was not as good as Pulp Fiction

And I suggested to him that one day, he walk the Camino.


20 thoughts on “Post Camino #20 – Bill, you’re a PILGRIM!

  1. The best and easiest way to remove burn from the bottom of a pan is to mix cream of tartar with enough water to cover the bottom and then boíl for a few minutes and leave It a while. All the Burnt bits will float to the surface!


  2. Wow!!!! That was a powerful post.
    Very timely as well….as I have spent the morning fixing up other peoples mistakes and stressing about making a flight this afternoon for work. Puts things into perspective……ALOT!
    Thank you.


    • Abbey, thank you! It was a prickly time there for a while, and it brought back all the old stuff between my son and myself, which I guess is the case in any father/son relationship.

      But my wife interceding, breaking what she called “an old energy pattern,” was the crucial thing which “saved” the evening.



  3. Bill, of all your wonderful posts I’ve read, that is the first one that has left me in tears. I don’t know why…..

    But I have a sudden urge to hug my own maddening teenage son.


  4. I feel really happy for you Bill. When everything is reduced to tin tacks I think the most important thing in life is our relationship with people. If tapping into the strength gained from time on the Camino enables us to be better people with better relationships …….. what a brilliant gift. Great story.

    Looooved Django Unchained! …….watched it on the plane from Spain to Oz.



  5. Debbie – it’s easy to slip back into old ways, old patterns of behaviour,

    Recalling moments on the Camino, remembering (or being reminded) that you’re a pilgrim, is a powerful way of breaking that entrenched behavioural patterning.

    Maybe because of the incident with the pan my take on Django Unchained was impaired. I should see it again – without my son cooking!



  6. Bill, to loosely quote an old (and kind of out of date but the meaning is still clear) saying: just goes to show you that behind every good pilgrim is a good woman lol


  7. This was beautiful. Yeah, the lessons of the Camino are always coming. Growth. My husband wants his children to walk the Camino too, hopefully one day they will hear the call to it, or some like journey.


  8. You know what we forget in those anger situations?And jeez isn’t it always our kids who can put us there so fast-just think of Tom and Daniel in “The Way”. I thought that was a good tool for evaluating just how important the problem really is-because if you can stop yourself for just a second and say ‘if it turned out tomorrow that I could never see this person again,is what I’m angry about now, important?’ But the other thing we forget in the burnt pan scenario, for example, is that the person who did it feels really awful inside about it. His plan was to welcome Dad home by driving four hours, and cooking a special meal;and he burns the expensive pan.His special plan is ruined,then–and if you add to his broken hearted feeling by getting angrier at the pan than you are happy to see him, it can be crushing.Your new pilgrim side stopped you from doing that-and its a whole new way to keep the lines open between you.Wonderful!


    • Dear Sister, you are right about my son’s reaction. He was devastated that he’d disappointed me. And of course I was so mad, and in my own little anger bubble, that I was momentarily blnd to that.

      It was Jennifer who reminded me of the principles of being a pilgrim. Thankfully. Because otherwise the evening would have been ruined.

      As it turned out, our local supermarket today had a sale of cooking goods. They had an identical pan on sale – same colour but different brand, but virtually identical – for $24.95.

      It just goes to show the folly of anger. And what wasted energy it is!



  9. WOW, Bill, I can assure you, that right around the world, there will be households where, from now on, the saying: “Remember, you’re a PILGRIM” will be used in all sorts of stressful situations. It is definitely going to stay in my vocab from now on. As has been said by so many others in this blog ‘thanks for sharing’!


    • Bhasma, that’s funny!

      But I hope you’re right. I’m lucky that I have a wife that has no problem in reminding me whenever I need it!



  10. Awesome post that touched me deeply. I too have a teenage son, and he and I have been getting along much better than we have in the past. Maybe because we are planning our camino together in 2015? Maybe because I have been reading your posts and those from other pilgrims, so the camino spirit has gotten into me and I have been more tolerant? I am not sure but I certainly agree that there are no coincidences. Thx for sharing once again. =)


    • Thanks Wayne! You know our son. He can be away with the pixies at times!

      And then he’ll whup my butt playing chess.

      He’s amazing.


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