What has lasted in her absence is what often seems to last: Food. Her perfect, perfect Salmon Soufflé. Now, because both Aunt Sue and Mamaw are beyond us, I can say what I’m about to say, without fear of an uprising. Aunt Sue’s Salmon Soufflé wins. It is the winner of a life-long feud: Mamaw’s Salmon Loaf or Aunt Sue’s Salmon Soufflé?
Tonight I made this soup with Mom for the first time. We talked through her youth. We did math and recollected dates. I corrected the order of the time before they knew one another in my memory.
I remember reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Coney Island Mind on the dock of my grandparent’s summer home in Okoboji, Iowa one summer a lifetime ago. One of the last summers I had before obligation became year round.
Dad wasn’t perfect.
He was good. He was a good person. He did good for others. He saw people. He loved people. And he often surprised people with quiet thoughtfulness. He was a savior. He was a confidant. He was a vigilante for your individuality in the middle of the night. He always wanted to curate an experience.
When I’m afraid of or uncomfortable with certain things, it’s generally because I lack understanding. When I push myself past that initial fear or discomfort, I am always pleasantly surprised.
As spring creeps its head around the corner, the ground begins to loosen, the birds begin to return, winter dies. This winter seems to have lasted a year. But I feel apprehensive, yet renewed hope for a day, just on the other side of now, where I’m hugging my brother or strolling my daughter through the zoo. A day when I can go on a date with my husband or laugh in a movie theatre with my son.