A Journey To The Past

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If loving musical theatre has taught me anything, it is to pay attention to the lines of iconic songs that truly bury themselves deep into our hearts without really knowing they have woven their way into our reality.

Yesterday was the day I refer to as my bridge day. March 8th is the day between the anniversary of losing my mom six years ago on March 7th and losing my dad fourteen years ago on March 9th. It is the day I inhale deep breaths after setting aside hours to remember all of the wonderful things about my mom before I do the same thing for my dad the next day. They are never far from my heart but these days, in particular, I set aside time to go through old photos and really bring them back to my “now”.

We were a very close family and the memories of being kids at the cottage are always the first flashbacks to fight their way to the surface above my tears. That place on the lake was the focal point of our childhood. It was the place we spent hours dreaming of who we would be, the place we learned to swim, to fish and to sail. And it was the place we spent many days having cookouts at the point of land between our family cottages. It was that point of land we chose to spread some of our parents ashes yesterday.

As a young girl, I spent many contemplative moments on that rock, never realizing what a special place that point would become to me as an adult. Standing on the frozen lake and looking back at the property that cradles so many wonderful recollections of family occasions sent me on a journey to my past and I could not imagine a better place to leave behind a small bit of two of the most important people who made those memories possible.

Life really is a journey. Much of it we spend looking forward to the things we want to achieve for ourselves and our future. But every so often, we need to take the moments to enjoy that journey to our past, to the people and to the places that have shaped our lives and brought us to where we are now.

 

 

 

 

 

A big ol’ bowl of Christmas

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There are many Christmas traditions I miss – those familiar happenings that only my dad could have created.  He was the biggest kid when it came to Christmas.  He would bravely face the busiest malls leading up to the holidays and no expense was spared. Our tree overflowed with gifts,  the food and drink were abundant and the festivities began bright and early each year with a barrage of Beach Boys music at 6:00 am on that merry morning.  And in the subsequent years, long after I had moved out of the house, that music still sounded when he called me at that same hour to make sure I was up and getting ready to head over.  (side note:  I took a break after writing this paragraph to surf Facebook and one of the videos I turned on was Beach Boys music – got the message loud and clear Dad!)

Our Christmas dinners were much-anticipated.  The turkey was always perfect, the mashed potatoes and gravy were unrivaled and nobody made stuffing like my mom.  We were always thankful for copious amount of food because that meant turkey sandwiches, Turkey Tetrazzini and, of course, my dad’s famous Turkey soup.

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It took me years to figure out why his soup was so good.  I’ve known lots of homes that had the stock simmering and the soup ready the next day but none of those creations even held a candle to my dad’s soup.  It wasn’t until I paid faithful attention that I realized his closely guarded secret when it came to his ingredients.

Each holiday celebration when we have a turkey, I happily pack up the leftovers to recreate dad’s soup and I am confident that my dad would be proud of the results.  When all is said and done, our turkey soup tastes just like Christmas dinner in a bowl.  It’s thick and it has all the components of a full turkey dinner.

I no longer call it Turkey Soup.  It is called Christmas soup, and for good reason.  It takes all the elements of our celebration from the carefully cooked bird, to all of the tasty side dishes, to the laughter at my nephew pointing out that his Under Armor Boxers were on backwards, and simmers all of that magic together in a pot.  It is a soupcon of memories, a fragrant blend of cherished moments, tears and laughter that make up our holiday season.

This years’ Christmas soup is simmering on the stove as I type this blog entry and I’m sure my dad would be happy that his post-festivity creation lives on in the kitchen of our past, present and future holiday celebrations.