Sunday, January 13, 2008

Can Words Provide Comfort?

is the one word subject line of Shirley’s email.
I pause before opening.
Their beloved dog, Hummer, has passed away.

She was almost 14, Shirley writes. Mark and I will miss her deeply. We buried her this snowy afternoon on a hill by our house. She was such a cheerful, outgoing girl. I never knew a dog to have such an open and loving heart as this one.

And there’s the photo of smiling Hummer.

I email some words, but how do you send comfort via the internet miles and miles away?

The next day we email again.
Rainy here in San Francisco, I say. I tell her I’m in the mood for tomato soup.

Shirl responds,
MMMM. Tomato soup. It is snow, snow, snow up here on my hill… Mmm. Where's that soup? Send soupy vibes my way, please. It's sooo quiet here today. - S.

I make the soup for real and imagine if Shirley were closer I’d bring her a big pot full. So I put it to words instead…

Rainy Day Soup Vibes Coming Your Way
Hi Shirl,
So quiet, so sad. My tomato soup vibes are with you. Actually it was a modified mixed up tomato soup but I just downed a big bowl and it was quite yummy.

I made a big pot to freeze or have over the next couple of days so come on down!

Lynn's Soup Recipe
Inspired by the rain and a recent trip to Trader Joes (TJ’s)
(Be sure to read the whole recipe to get the vibe)

One box TJ's Chicken Broth
Boil that up with 1/2 to 1/3 bag of TJ's Harvest Grains Blend

After about 10 minutes or so add:
1 can of TJ's Tuscano Marinara sauce
1 can of TJ's Plum Tomatoes (with basil)
& 1 can of you-guessed it-TJ's White Kidney Beans.

While that's bubbling a bit and you're pretending that you grew those tomatoes yourself rather than keeping the can opener humming (then you think some good thoughts for sweet Hummer), you remember, hey now, I bought some TJ's Chicken Chipotle Sausage--already cooked--how convenient, so you slice up some of those and they are spicy, so put as few or as many as you like.

Yum, you think, this would go well with that TJ's cheesy sliced sourdough you just bought sprinkled with some of that TJ's Quatro Fromaggio grated cheese blend (so nice of Joe and all his pals to grate that up for you in the nifty re-sealable bag don't you think?)…

But the soup smells so good you skip the cheesy cheesy bread for some other time--perhaps some other time with that TJ's Cabernet Diablo something imported by TJ's from Chile you bought because Amy introduced you to wine from Chile while we were all on that Plot Dogs writing retreat in Mexico, and that reminds you of warmer days and lots of other things, and you think, yes, some of that Diablo whatever it's called wine from Chile would be right tasty with this tomato soup but it’s only 2:00 in the afternoon and you didn’t do your writing yet, so you eat your soup and say, okay, I’ll remember this recipe and next time I’ll make the cheesy cheesy bread to go with--and have Shirley over and that will certainly be a festive occasion so we will open the Diablo and clink our glasses to rainy days and writer friends and tomato soup (with a little help from TJ’s) and of course to sweet Hummer...
And just so we don’t forget the recipe, here it is.

Shirley writes back:
How immensely comforting you are. You should put this on your blog!
I WANT that soup. I WANT your company. But I'll just make do with re-reading the recipe.
- Shirl

Shirley said to post the recipe, so here it is.

If only my Imaginary Blog could deliver the hot soup from rainy San Francisco to Shirley’s snowy, too quiet home.

Forecast: Rain, snow & sorrow with a chance of soup

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