Ten years ago, my wife and I had a quirky neighbor named Dell. He taught us to make our own yogurt and the results were so delicious that we’ve made it weekly ever since and taught friends to do the same.

We just found out that Dell passed away two years ago.

It’s profoundly bittersweet to consider the unpredictable echoes we leave in each other’s lives. You can’t control cultures directly—be they yogurt or human—but you can create the conditions for them to grow and thrive.


Complement with How to kill a dragon, What my secret agent grandmother taught me, and There aren’t even any endings.

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Eliot Peper is the author of nine novels, including Cumulus, Bandwidth, and, most recently, Veil. He sends a monthly newsletter documenting his journey as a reader and writer, tweets more than he probably should, and lives in Oakland, CA.