For years and years, we had a triple timer in the kitchen. Handy if you’re cooking and more than one thing has to be timed at once. One of those three timers, though, was always set to 4:30, the amount of time I steep my tea every morning. Alas, that favorite timer of ours finally gave up the ghost. You had to press the buttons so hard that sometimes it hurt your thumb. Sometimes the alarm sounded like a wounded bird in a distant forest. It was definitely time to move on.
The Professor couldn’t find the same timer for sale anymore, and we ended up buying this fancy-schmancy one with four (!) timers instead. We set one, of course, for 4:30. (For those of you playing at home, it’s a Thermoworks Timestack.)
One reason it’s fancy-schmancy is that it has a unique feature – you can actually record something to play when time is up, rather than having an alarm sound. I guess this would be handy if you wanted to differentiate between “Rotate the pan!” and “Add such-and-such an ingredient now” without having to remember that the first timer was the rotate instruction and the second, the add-the-ingredient one.
One morning soon after we got it, I was steeping my tea, and when the 4:30 had passed, I heard The Professor’s voice saying, “Honey, your tea is ready!” Isn’t that about the sweetest thing you’ve ever heard? She tends toward considerate things to do, knowing me, and this is a good example. In the past, if I walked up to the timer within a few seconds of it sounding the alarm, I would just turn it off. Not anymore. I let her tell me my tea is ready every day.
I recently had a conversation with a good friend who had reminded me that no future is guaranteed. That was in the context of not putting off travel, because maybe you’ll never have another chance to see that destination. But really, it can apply to anything. The timer voice recording was such a small thing for her to do. But I want to let the conversation with my friend inspire me to do small, kind things often for those I love. Or maybe even for acquaintances. Or strangers.
Maybe the moment to show that you care won’t come again. Because you never know.