September 19, 2002

Memories

Back to soup...just the thought sends me into raptures now. The whiff of an onion brings tears of joy. God I love soup! Chicken, vegetable, beef, cold, hot, rice, noodle...even thick stew with cabbage...I've even made okra when the crisper was empty. So you ask...what does a book of matches have to do with soup? Well...for me...everything. When I was around 8 or so I fell in love with fire. I loved nothing more than going to my grandpa's home in the Fall during potato harvest because after we were done picking up the "taters" we would be sure to have a bonfire. I would wash up a few of the smaller potatos and prick them with a little pearly pen knife and poke them under the glowing embers with a green stick. When I judged them done by the smell...I would roll them out. Just watching the steam under the twilight sky and to feel the heat of the fire on my face and to smell the good dark earth of the overturned soil...that was heaven to me. I didn't often eat what I cooked I just wanted to try to be as near to fire as I could. Bask in the glow and stare entranced into the orange flames. I would sometimes pretend I was an Indian and my only food was that potato. I would save it for a long time andnibble on it. Then I would"feed my stock" (grandpa's chickens) the left over pieces. My love of fire began at an early age. I soon wanted to make my own fires even though we lived in town. We had a large lot though and lived close to the railroad tracks. We had a huge Cedar tree out our back yard...and it was under the wide sweeping branches at the base of the trunck that I dug my first fire pit. I was a good Indian. I dug a large pit, lined it with stones that I found in the ditch beside the railroad tracks. I used kindling and small sticks then a few larger ones and voila! I had a lovely fire blooming beneath the canopy of the cedar tree in nothing flat. I had a watering can full of water ready to douse it at a moments notice, an old Foldgers coffee can washed and filled half full of water, and the vegetables I had managed to find washed up and waiting to be added to the "pot". The only thing I felt even a pang of guilt about was where I "found" my soup ingredients!

postCount('luck');
Back to soup...just the thought sends me into raptures now. The whiff of an onion brings tears of joy. God I love soup! Chicken, vegetable, beef, cold, hot, rice, noodle...even thick stew with cabbage...I've even made okra when the crisper was empty. So you ask...what does a book of matches have to do with soup? Well...for me...everything. When I was around 8 or so I fell in love with fire. I loved nothing more than going to my grandpa's home in the Fall during potato harvest because after we were done picking up the "taters" we would be sure to have a bonfire. I would wash up a few of the smaller potatos and prick them with a little pearly pen knife and poke them under the glowing embers with a green stick. When I judged them done by the smell...I would roll them out. Just watching the steam under the twilight sky and to feel the heat of the fire on my face and to smell the good dark earth of the overturned soil...that was heaven to me. I didn't often eat what I cooked I just wanted to try to be as near to fire as I could. Bask in the glow and stare entranced into the orange flames. I would sometimes pretend I was an Indian and my only food was that potato. I would save it for a long time andnibble on it. Then I would"feed my stock" (grandpa's chickens) the left over pieces. My love of fire began at an early age. I soon wanted to make my own fires even though we lived in town. We had a large lot though and lived close to the railroad tracks. We had a huge Cedar tree out our back yard...and it was under the wide sweeping branches at the base of the trunck that I dug my first fire pit. I was a good Indian. I dug a large pit, lined it with stones that I found in the ditch beside the railroad tracks. I used kindling and small sticks then a few larger ones and voila! I had a lovely fire blooming beneath the canopy of the cedar tree in nothing flat. I had a watering can full of water ready to douse it at a moments notice, an old Foldgers coffee can washed and filled half full of water, and the vegetables I had managed to find washed up and waiting to be added to the "pot". The only thing I felt even a pang of guilt about was where I "found" my soup ingredients!


September 15, 2002

Back to Merles cafe. If you read the previous entry you will see that I was only able to see "Robin" eating the pickled egg because I was taking some book matches from the glass bowl on the counter. I was about 8 then I suppose and after my awe from the freakish diner show had subsided I sauntered out with my book of matches fully encased in my sticky fingers with just one thing on my mind. Soup...yes soup.


I remember Merle's Cafe. It was a tiny postage stamp sized cafe/bar along highway 6 and 34 conveniently located across the street from the local "cop shop" and beside the lumber yard. When you walked through the front door you were instantly dazzled by gleaming rows of amber bottles with colorful labels on them and the stacks upon stacks of cigarettes. There was something else that was fantastic and curious there. Three gigantic glass jars were nestled side by side on the counter just beside the cash register. One of them held pickled pigs feet gleaming pearly pink from within the brine, another had pickled boiled eggs that reminded me of giant eyeballs, and the third held sausages swimming in a cloudy reddish brine. I always wondered if anyone ever ate those pickled pigs feet. In fact I hoped that I was there to witness the freakish event. I did see someone eat those pickled eggs. An ancient man who was always sitting at the far end of the bar. His brown derby hat sitting cockeyed on his thin gray wisps of hair and his half empty glass of beer in front of him. His bowed banty legs would be swinging from the cracked and stained black barstool, back and forth, back and forth while he drained one warm beer after another. One afternoon as I sidled in to snatch a book of matches from the glass bowl on the counter I saw him pluck up an egg from the counter. Merle must have dipped one out for him and layed it on a crackling piece of wax paper just before I came in, for the egg was still wet and shiny with a teardrop of brine slipping off the side and dropping to the faded linolium. I watched in awe as the old man opened his mouth and dropped the whole egg into that toothless gap. He looked like a baby robin taking the worm. From then on I secretly called him Robin. Though I never saw him eat another egg I hoped and hoped and waited for him to dip into the pickled pigs feet urn.