Top Shelf: Up and down and around again

Jun 7, 2020 by Timothy MacDonald

Top Shelf: by Chef Tim MacDonald

Fisherman’s Village market, Bo Phut, Thailand. Early afternoon. It’s hot, damn hot. Dante’s inferno could not be hotter as I quickly scan up and down the aisle.

Out of nowhere a young girl — a dark-skinned Southern Thai rice farmer’s daughter with white, white teeth — ejects herself from a large garbage bin filled with water like a Jack-in-the-Box. It appears to be her party trick as the local toothless fishermen wives all burst into laughter at my shocked response.

The bin appears to be the young child’s swimming pool. High up on the hill, a privileged white farang brat, safe and secure in his white villa overlooking the market, floats around in an infinity pool on his inflatable slice of capricciosa pizza.

The divide could not be greater between the have and have-nots, despite a once-in-a-century war raging against a silent enemy. The issue of mental health is beginning to become a player in the equation. The equation of survival.

The collateral effect on mental health is also becoming evident in the U.S. Not since the last year of President Johnson’s term has the U.S. been so mentally challenged. Back then, the Vietnam war, equality, race, and the question of who the architect was, who to blame, fanned the flames of a division that is repeating itself today.

Mental health is a relevant important issue.

In early June two years ago, a good friend to all on M/Y Elixir, his friends and family all suffered their own trauma as a result of mental health. The death of young Lewis Burke is still raw to all of us. With the silent war going on now into its sixth month for some, the question of mental health, dealing with it and honoring a fallen friend is paramount.

My last memory of Lewis was being driven to the train station in LaCiotat. I, myself, off to Thailand at the conclusion of the season. Lewis off to take on a humanitarian cause in Asia, I believe. Two yachts tacking through life’s troubled waters, both sailing into two different storms. Lewis’s thoughts were clearly up in the air like pick-up sticks. The mind not sure, confused of what lay ahead. Questions of not being able to find the answers in life.

The only thing I can say for sure is that at that stage in the silver Volkswagen crew car was that he loved chocolate! And my biggest regret is not being able to offer any advice of substance other than to ‘push it forward’. God bless your soul Lewis.

Click here for the chocolate cookie recipe Lewis loved: Lewis’s Chocolate Chunk Sea Biscuit

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