Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Chicken Soup for the Scooterist's Spirit

For over 20 years now we’ve been bombarded by books in which humble chicken soup is portrayed allegorically to mean something soothing, warm, cozy, familiar, healing, and so on, but sometimes a bowl of chicken soup is just a bowl of chicken soup.  It was requested last week that I make a pot of the stuff because the freezer was barren of it so I set to work making a three gallon pot that will last for another month or two of winter.  I have no recipe but simply duplicate the basics from having watched my grandma make probably hundreds of gallons of the precious stuff a long time ago.  Each pot is a little different, but it always hits just the spot that a good bowl of chicken soup should hit.  I used to make my own noodles, also using Grandma’s familiar mental recipe, but nowadays I don’t like the mess that goes along with making them, nor do I have the patience to cut the very fine noodles which were among her culinary specialties. 

According to family legend it was Grandma’s sending some of her chicken soup and noodles to her brother Martin, Uncle Mart’ to us, that pulled him back from the brink of death one time when he was terribly sick and the doctors were iffy about making any predictions about whether or not he’d get better.  I can’t attest to the truth of the story, but late every Sunday morning, before dinner which was served promptly at noon, we all sat down to a bowl of Grandma’s chicken soup as an appetizer, and on Saturday nights when the soup was simmering while Lawrence Welk was plying his musical trade on the black and white TV in the parlor, we were practically drooling in anticipation of sitting down to our bowls the next morning.  I’m not sure if the liquid gold lived up to the reputation of chicken soup as having some sort of curative powers, but it was certainly delicious!

When I’m out on the scooter so many memories of childhood come back to me – memories of a much simpler time when the most I had to worry about was whether I’d remembered to do all of my homework.  Thoughts of things like Grandma’s soup, Grandpop’s calligraphy, mom’s younger brother who also lived with us always catching hell for something or other that he did or forgot to do warm my heart as much as anything I’ve ever eaten to warm my belly and fill my spirit.   I like that when life gets too busy I can slow it down for a while by taking the Piaggio for a spin and feeling the same exhilaration as when I first rode my bicycle out of the neighborhood to explore parts of the city I’d never been to alone before.  And I like that after all of the magnificent meals I’ve had in my 57 years are considered, the simple bowl of chicken soup still hold its special place.

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