We’ve all been there, in that group where the question comes up: “If you could have a meal with someone living or dead, who would it be?”
The idea is so thought provoking, I couldn’t resist putting it to some of my characters to see how they’d respond.
Art professor, Bianca James would love to break bread with Frida Kahlo. A Mexican artist best known for her soul-baring self-portraits, Frida faced the obstacles in her life—childhood polio, a horrific bus accident, and a tumultuous marriage—as Bianca puts it, “with brio.” Summoning Frida helps Bianca find strength when her reserves get low.
Handsome cop, Finn Tierny, idolizes Maurice Hilleman. A middle school project piqued his interest in the scientist who created more than forty vaccines including immunizations for measles, mumps and chickenpox, and Finn wondered what would it be like to make a difference like that.
Tish Duchene, who oozes femininity despite wearing combat boots, has always admired Cleopatra for her strength while maintaining her lady-like charm. Plus, there are those perfect bangs!
Dylan Tierny, cop turned private eye, has appreciated old movies since he was a kid. Jimmy Stewart always impressed him for his portrayals of the down-to-earth everyman fighting his way through a crisis. And it didn’t hurt that more times than not he had a beautiful woman by his side.
Helen “salt coming out of her pepper shaker” Gavin admires Sarah McLachlan for her dedication to animals. And Sarah’s voice is second to none when it comes to soothing them. Helen’s own attempts at singing have sparked a neighborhood dog howling contest on more than one occasion, but whenever she hears that famous rendition of “Angel,” she’s inspired to dash off a check to the ASPCA.
And then there’s Gus, proprietor of the seediest bar in town, who was an avid scuba diver until he got a bad case of the bends. Hero: Jacques Cousteau, of course.
There are other kinds of heroes, perhaps not famous but no less significant. Durwood, a loveable mechanic/hog farmer who seems to show up when other characters need him most, assigns hero status to a buddy who didn’t come back from Vietnam.
What’s your story? Who would you love to invite to your dinner table?