"Carol, I can't thank you enough for giving my mom a final voice and salute. My mom passed peacefully about 30 minutes ago. I love her with all my heart. She was surrounded by my brothers and Pastor Odie from Good Shepherd. Your article was her last miracle..." CR
Every day is a blessing for Matt Frohman, a life lesson he's still learning from his mom, Kathryn Frohman.
At 70, her will remains strong as her body declines, exhausted from battling the throat cancer that has robbed her of her independence, her voice, and her ability to enjoy the simplest of life's pleasures: a meal.
Matt Frohman points out that his mother's illness has been a difficult adjustment – not just for her family, but especially for her. For most of her 70 years she's been feisty and full of fire, an avid painter, nature lover, and a bit of a hell raiser.
She's had to make the transition, from her beloved home in Portsmouth to Nashua Crossings assisted living community, where painting continues to be her refuge.
"This is a wonderful place, and she's happy here – but the years she spent as a smoker finally caught up to her, and as great as everyone here is, it's changed her life," Frohman said.
Last week Frohman, of New York, surprised his mom by arranging to stop by her new digs with a copy of a TV pilot he's developed, nine years in the making. He wanted to give his mom – and her friends – a sneak preview of the show he says she inspired.
The show, "Rogues on the Road," features Frohman and his longtime best friend, Rich Marshall, as they travel the world on culinary adventures that focus on local sustainability and education. Frohman and Marshall actually forage, harvest and hunt for the main ingredients before cooking them and enjoying them in the habitat from which is was cultivated.
He and Marshall are currently shopping the pilot around to several networks, hoping to get picked up as an "adventure travel dining show with a twist," which opens up several network possibilities.
In the pilot, filmed at Canada's Banff National Park, Frohman and Marshall settle on a main course of invasive trout, which they actually go out and catch, then forage for wild mushrooms, picking up other sustainably grown vegetables at a local farmers market. They pair the meal with a locally brewed beer and then hire a chef to come on location to show them how to grill the fish and prepare the meal over an open fire.
Frohman says if not for his mom's influence – encouraging him to explore his world, to savor good food, to respect nature and to dream big – he would never have come up with a concept for an adventure food show, or gotten this far in life, period.
Having a chance to show the pilot to his mom, along with the rest of the Nashua Crossings community, was a way to help them learn a little more about Kathryn Frohman, who otherwise misses out on the community's biggest social moment – meal time.
"Mom's been here about six months. It's tough on her, because all her life she loved to eat and enjoyed sharing meals, and she's a wonderful story teller. Now, she's unable to participate in those things. I thought this would be one way to help others know her like I know her," Frohman said.
So on Aug 19 – two days after Kathryn Frohman's 70th birthday – she was having a particularly good day, after being hospitalized. She wheeled into the community room, following her dialysis appointment, looking like queen for a day, taking a front row spot next to her son.
As is her way, Kathryn was dolled up, from head to painted toe nails – a pink flower in her hair, which she later explained, is an ode to her deceased husband.
Despite the loss of her teeth and part of her tongue, she struggled to explain how her future husband had promptly swept her off her feet, between his charm and his big blue eyes. He'd given her a hair comb with a flower attached to it on their first date. In adjusting to the transition to her new environment, she decided to wear a flower every day, a silent gesture of the love between them.
With an assist from her son, Kathryn Frohman talked about a pivotal year in her son's life, when his learning disabilities caused him to fail at middle school.
"She pulled me out of school and put me in an alternative school, where it was hands-on learning. At the time, it was considered a new type of special ed program, the 'resource room,'" Frohman said.
His mother fought with school administrators, who didn't make it easy for her, but she said she knew what was best for her son, who had a different way of learning.
"His failure would have been my failure," she said.
That turned out not only to be Frohman's best year of school – he won an 8th grade achievement award – but it was the pivotal experience that set in motion his future. He's now a middle-school science teacher, who draws on his own experience growing up, and his continued love of adventure, to teach his students how to understand the natural world around them.
Which brings him back to creating 'Rogues on the Road."
"If you'd told me back then that someday I'd be a teacher – I would never have believed it, but all that I've experienced along the way brought me to the point in life where I knew that making a program, like 'Rogues on the Road,' was really a culmination of my life's journey," Frohman said. "To share this with my mom, knowing that every day with her we have left is a gift, and a blessing, means everything."
For more information on "Rogues on the Road" contact firstname.lastname@example.org.