When I was a kid, I had a secret weapon against onions. It was an uncanny ability to discover even the slightest presence of the pungent vegetable. No matter how finely my mom chopped, blended, or pureed them, they were no match for my ninja sense. As soon as the dish touched my tongue my body rejected it wholesale. My brother and sister would roll their eyes and my mom would launch in to any number of reasons for me to choke it down. My favorite one was “you can’t even taste them!” Oh really? Why put them in then? My logic was unassailable.
My hatred of onions followed me throughout my life. Kathryn thought I was really weird for not liking onions but she wisely accommodated my wishes. Sometimes she would even go as far as making two separates batches of whatever; one with and one without. In spite of their Dad’s obsession against them, our kids have always enjoyed onions thanks to Mom.
Sometime after we moved to Oakdale in 2011, Kathryn and I (well, let’s be honest, she was driving this) started “souping.” She planned and organized amazing recipes, soaked beans overnight, chopped veggies, etc. She and I would put the kids to bed and make massive amounts of soup, which we would freeze and have all winter long. Bean soup, chicken soup, broccoli soup, pumpkin soup, you name it. As long as it met a few criteria: it was healthy, low fat, and started with onions and garlic.
I was cool with garlic, I love me some cheesy garlic bread, but onions? I protested, but that did not last long. When I tasted the product there was no doubt in Kathryn’s abilities. She could cook the hell out of anything, including onions, which were in my mind, until that point, born of fire and brimstone. I was a reformed man.
Kathryn has been a reformer for as long as I have known her. We were married for seventeen years and there was not a year that passed that did not contain some kind of purifying fire. Granted, she was often holding the torch to my ass but however the fire arrived, we walked through it together and were transformed together.
Tonight, as the three month anniversary of her passing approaches, I was feeling so incredibly lost and alone. Tucking Elias in and praying with him, I tearfully thanked God for seventeen years of marriage with Kathryn. Many don’t get half the years with their bride as I have had with mine, but I was still feeling incredibly hollow. I needed some comfort. I told Elias I was going to make some soup.
After he was tucked in I headed upstairs to the pantry and grabbed a couple bags of carrots, celery, a bag of wild rice, some vegetable broth, garlic, and…yep, you guessed it, onions. I turned on some tunes on the talking cylinder and started chopping.
I owe so much to Kathryn for being my best friend through seventeen years of every imaginable pain and joy, stress and blessing, coolness and warmth, all transforming us both. There have been far more important transformations within me that I could talk about, and maybe someday I will, but for now, I’ll keep it to onions.
Thank you, Kathryn. Soup’s on!