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?
Through all of this, I cling to little bits of hope like a shadowboxer. Maybe things will change. Maybe they will change. Maybe they'll revert to who they were before I knew more about them. Maybe they'll understand.
And this all came up because I made Johnnie M. Casserole. (Aka Goulash.) Papa loved Johnnie M. In fact, I fondly remember one day when I was at his lake house in Okoboji and I had plans to make Johnnie M. for him that evening. I had spent the entire day power-washing the three wooden decks/landings on the house. I came in, covered in dirt and wood bits and water and he, sitting at the dining room table working on a puzzle, gruffed, "Are we having Johnnie M. or what?"