We're finding that celebrating a holiday doesn't have to be a show. It just has to be what we want it to be. And this weekend is all about hope, good food, and time.
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.
It was one of the most important things Dad ever said to me. And in moments when I've struggled to meet a challenge, if I harken back to that moment and that success, I succeed again.
My name is Maddie. Madeline Suzanne. My nicknames? Shuffy, Shiney, B-Sweet, Little Maddie Fu-Sue, Crainch-Grainch, Crumpertina Meff-Mertudy (she's the cutest of the cute-cute-cuties), Crunchy, Shine-a-lau, Sholly, Shollarific, Madelina Suzanna Maria, Midge, Scrummy, and everybody's favorite: Screebits.
My Momma is a damn good cook. She fed us so well all my life. And even though I began my life as a somewhat picky eater - and even though I continue to have a few of those early food quirks heldover - her ability to make things delicious inspired my life in ways I can't fully express.