Soup

There’s a tradition in our family started by Eva, my dad’s wife, to make a big pot of soup and have it ready when someone comes home from a trip. When you are jetlagged, the last thing you want to do is go out to a restaurant or cook. After a shower, opening the refrigerator and seeing a beautiful pot of soup in the fridge is nirvana. Soup made with love – you can taste the difference. 

I made a pot of homemade chicken soup and matzoh balls about two months ago in anticipation of Jeff coming back from Israel. He had been there since January, working in a busy Emergency Department in Ashdod, Israel. Today, I am defrosting the soup made for him. I don’t think I’m going to see him for a while.

I know for some of you it’s tough to quarantine with family. Tempers are short. You don’t have the usual distractions. But quarantining alone is no picnic. Everyone in my family is on lockdown in their prospective countries.  

My brother is staying here. He too, separated from family. And it’s kind of weird to live with your brother for weeks in the house you grew up in. It just adds to the surreality. 

We are both in Milwaukee with our 99 year old father. Even for a Holocaust survivor this current situation “feels like the end of the world”. He watches at a distance, as an outsider. His joie de vivre, social interaction, has been snatched from him. His hospice nurse recommends the two of us “use FaceTime or something” instead of visiting. His apartment is a short walk from my house. Going there makes me anxious but not going is even harder. Isolation and loneliness are leading to a huge decline in his quality of life.

So when I cook he wants Hungarian meals from the old country like Káposztás Tészta (cabbage and noodles), cholent and Toltott Kaposzta (stuffed cabbage). And of course soup.

Make soup for someone you love, they can taste the difference.

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1 comment

  1. Thank you for sharing your personal situation. Agonizing. I get to be in the company of a lot of elders in my vocation, and I have long known that this generation of 90 + year olds is my absolute favorite. (I know, I’m not supposed to have favorites, but still). More often than not, it’s always been this group always makes me feel more reassurance/hope/affirmation than I believe that I’ve offered them in return, but they would never let me get away with that attitude. Most have lived through so much while coming through with amazing gifts for generosity, and authentic character of both hardiness and deep appreciation for things. This world, both natural and human-made, can be so deeply cruel and cold. So many things are leaving me angry and empty, and profoundly worried. I still find myself from time to time being both comforted to the core and challenged by: The solidarity of compassion, the presence of unexplainable moments of peace, the blessing of community breaking through barriers, the mystery of the spirit — even when it’s gritty and raw–ever rising up, despite. . .everything. And, some speaking truth to power, otherwise known as a good sense of humor (and prophetic vision). Thanks for being here and making this part of the world go ’round, for listening, and understanding in a way that many cannot or will not allow.

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