soupy nostalgia

Having an early lunch with my wife at the Bread and Cie bakery in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego, brought back a memory of my late dad and me. Our soup was supposed to be tomato, but it was more a creamy carrot- vegetable. And that’s what brought me to chuckles.

I haven’t intentionally eaten carrot soup in a half-century. Before my parents’ divorce, my father would take me a few times to the synagogue during my childhood in California. Accompanying him once for a charity auction there, I got the privilege of holding the bidder paddle while my dad went to the restroom. “If you see the tomato soup going up for auction while I am away, you may raise your paddle”, he said. Though Bar Mitzvah was significant for Jewish thirteen year-olds, I felt, at eleven, pretty grown up already.

I won the bid. Just then my father returned to his seat to learn that we now owned six restaurant-sized cans of carrot soup while the tomato went to someone else. My dad was only half-joking on the way home that I would have to eat all the carrot soup I won. He was not someone to throw away money even though it was for charity. It was with maternal collusion that consuming the six industrial-sized cans of carrot soup became only two . (I think over a couple months she spirited the cans out to her department workmates at the hospital.)

My father , dead for the last 31 years, never really intended for me to eat the mistake. Now that I raised my children to adulthood, my sense of humor over such things with kids gave me great insight. He probably thoroughly enjoyed my guilty “torment”. My mother said as much many years later. While I still enjoy tomato soup on occasion, particularly with a grilled cheese sandwich, I think nostalgia flavored the lunch today exceptionally well.

But I still will not order carrot soup. EVER.

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