Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Cooking with Papa #SOL21

 A few weeks ago, I was not sure I would ever see my papa again.  After having his pacemaker replaced, he developed an infection and landed back in the hospital.  He seemed to be failing quickly.  

I had not seen him since September due to the travel restrictions; he lives an hour away but in a different state.  It broke my heart because in the hospital he was all alone because no one could visit him.  


However, he is quite the fighter at 94.  He is back living in his own home with 24-hour care.  


Over February break with extra testing in place, I was able to visit him.  


When I arrived, he was already perched on his stool cutting onions and garlic and measuring spices.  His eyes sparkled because we planned to do something he loves - cooking.  We were making his Italian bean soup.

  

After a brief hello, he put me right to work.  


He wanted to teach me to cook it his way as he is pretty particular about certain things.  


I had to put a bag in the crockpot to reduce the mess.  I could not hit the side of the pot to get the sauce off the spoon.  I had to wash the cans of tomato sauce and black beans out with water and dump it in the pot to use up all the juices.  Nothing was to be wasted.  I had to break the spaghetti into strips about 1.5 inches long.  Although, he did say it was okay if a few were not the right size.  I could just throw them in the soup.  


He watched me with a careful eye, guiding me with his loud hoarse voice.  


As I was sitting next to him breaking the pasta, he took the time to write out his recipe by hand for me to take home.  He even gave me a 5-star rating.  He does not give out his cooking secrets to many, so I felt pretty special.  



I also felt incredibly lucky.  I do realize how fortunate I am to still have my papa.  Not many people my age have grandparents still living.  While he can’t walk on his own, he can still do some of the things he enjoys, and he is still sharp as a tack.  


Eventually, we had to move to the den because his legs were swelling.  We enjoyed some quiet moments together and talked of the past and compared some of our memories, in particular his advice to me on love.  Finally, he swore he will be able to walk again and live on his own.  I love the fire he still has in his spirit; it keeps him going.  


I look forward to our next cooking session.  I wonder what recipe he will pass down to me next and what memories we will dredge up to share with each other.  


I am excited to be participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Challenge.




16 comments:

  1. How special! This memory will be all the sweeter because you took the time to write it down, so you will have it more firmly implanted on your heart!

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    1. I agree. I am so grateful for this challenge to memorialize this special visit.

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  2. I love this story! How cute that he wrote out the recipe and gave you a 5 star rating. So glad you were able to share this time with him.

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    1. I hope I can get more of his handwritten recipes after a cooking session.

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  3. Heather, what a sweet, sweet memory - I love it! My grandparents are in their 80s, and I am certain I take it for granted. My mom reminds me to call, to pass by and say hello, and I don't listen to her enough. Thank you for this encouraging post, as well as window into the relationship with your Papa.

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    1. Thank you, Britt. My kids are older, so I have more time on my hands. Unfortunately, COVID has kept us a part. I am hoping I will be able to visit him more regularly soon.

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  4. There is something truly special about cooking alongside someone we love. My grandparents are long gone, but I spend time cooking with my dad whenever we're together. While we may bicker in the kitchen (since we often think we know best), we laugh more than we bicker. That is everything!

    I hope your grandfather continues to make progress and feel good!

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    1. Thank you, Stacey. I agree. My husband and I are cooking together more often now that are kids are grown. I hope I can do more with my grandfather soon. I wish my dad lived closer so we could cook together.

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  5. What a blessing to spend time with him, what a precious memory, what a remarkable man! Thank you for sharing the recipe; I feel a part of the joy you must feel being with him. Thank you for this!

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    1. Thank you, Maureen. I am soaking in every moment I have with him. I am hoping I can see him soon now that things are opening up more.

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  6. Oh how wondering to have this time with him - to cook and chat and spend time together. I love reading this post and thinking of you two in the kitchen Thanks for sharing these moments.

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    1. Thank you. I am fortunate to have this wonderful environment to share these moments.

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  7. This is exactly what Slicing is about--capturing these experiences to share and revisit later. I could feel your love and concern for him, and his for you--that piece of paper is proof. I hope there are many visits to come!

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    1. Thank you, Chris. I hope I can see him again soon, as well.

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  8. What a special moment! I lost my grandmother jsut two years ago, and I know I was blessed to have had her in my life for so long. I hope he continues to get stronger so you two can share more cooking lessons!

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    1. Thank you, Leigh Anne. He is a strong man, and I hope to have more moments like this with him.

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