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Potato Soup, War Horse and Hometown Memories

Soup & Memories

I’m definitely an “in the moment” type woman. I don’t dwell on the past, and while I anticipate the future, I truly live today for today. Being such, it often surprises me when I find myself in a loop of memories. I don’t mean the sporadic memory triggered by a song or a scent, but rather when one memory trigger is followed by another and another and another. Such has been the case the past few days.

It piques my curiosity when this happens. Is there something I need to know? Is there a need I’ve been neglecting? Even more curious is that each memory in this current loop involves the same town. The town I call home. That, in itself, is odd. You see, I have lived in many places, from one coast to the other, and despite spending the least number of years in this particular town, I still feel it is where I’m from. I’ve been away 32 years and when asked, I still answer that I’m from there.

This memory loop began when I was cleaning out my paint cabinet and opened a can of walnut stain to see if it was still good. It splashed onto my hand and stained my skin. Like a flash of lightning, I was transported back to a time when my brother and I collected dozens of burlap sacks full of black walnuts. We were going to sell them and become “gazillionaires”! What actually happened was we had bags weighing several hundred pounds, and with no way to lift or transport them, they rotted and we had nothing to show for our efforts. Except stained hands.

The next memory trigger occurred after I decided to rent and watch War Horse this weekend. I thought it was a family movie and was totally unprepared for such an emotional tale. As a former horse owner, I found myself tearing up over and over again, but when Joey (the horse) got caught in barbed wire, I lost it! I mean full-out sobbing. I knew it was only a movie and the horse was fine, but it triggered a memory of the night my own thoroughbred horse ran through a barbed wire fence. I couldn’t find him and was frantic. The next day, a neighbor about 2 miles away called–there was a horse tangled in barbed wire hanging out in her back yard…was it perhaps ours? Yes! Happy reunion; followed by permanent loss when he was sold while I was away at school.

Today I decided to make potato soup. For some reason, I cannot make potato soup without thinking about high school Home Ec class, in that same town. In particular, I have memories of making potato soup with (for?) the varsity football team. Thankfully, I’m in touch with some of my h/s classmates so I’ll have to ask someone else if they remember details of this or if they, too, think of Home Ec class whenever they make potato soup.

Pulling out my cookbook for my favorite potato soup recipe also became a memory trigger. It was given to me by Grandma Bea, my best friend’s grandmother, while I was back for a visit.

It’s one of those “church ladies” cook books; this makes me smile. Holding it in my hands, I remember potluck suppers, incriminating stares, and kind hearts. Flipping through the pages, I recognize names from the past and wonder about them all. I wonder where they are, if their families still enjoy their cooking, and if they know how precious their 1990-91 cookbook is to me. While many things trigger memories of this town, the cookbook is the only item that allows me to recreate a little bit of my past.

While I may no longer be in my hometown, my hometown will always be in my heart. Perhaps that is the singular reason I still call it my hometown:  it got into my heart. Sometimes we all need a little bit of home, regardless how it comes to us.

Thanks for the memories!

The Yellow Kite

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2 comments on “Potato Soup, War Horse and Hometown Memories

  1. Hi there. Thanks for the information – an awesome read so far!

  2. It’s 10 degrees here, sure could use some of that nice warm potato soup!
    Pondering your blog, For me, it makes sense that actions and thoughts going on today, can relate back to memories. Memories are the threads that make up the fabric of who we are today. Luckily, we are not confined to a particular memory thread, unless we allow ourselves to get stuck on it.
    These threads extend into the now, and we can use them to weave the tapestry of what we desire our lives to be like in the future.
    This doesn’t mean that we are confined to work with only the threads attached to memories. As in creating a tapestry, we can pick up a new color thread that hasn’t been used yet to continue the design that we wish.
    I think, this is where some folks can become confused. I’ve come across people who, desiring to live only in the moment, resist or are afraid of acknowledging their past. “After all, it’s gone.”
    But we do need that touchstone, to see where we’ve come, what can we learn and bring it into the present for our use.
    There are some folks that feel that the tapestry we are now, was created for us by our parents, teachers and others of influence over us. Believing that all the threads of posibility are used up and the design cannot be changed.
    Fortunately, this is not so.
    Looking into the past, what part of the design and colors do you like?
    What design and colors helped create strength, perserverence, resourcefulness and other qualities that brought you to where you are today?
    What part of the old design no longer serves you?
    What new design and colors do you vision for yourself in the future?
    What threads do you wish to use today to create the tapestry of your life?
    Your ability to continue the creation of your tapestry is infinite.

    Thanks for your memories, a wonderful topic to tickle my brain and heart. :0)

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