Stone Soup

Sundays have always been synonymous with  fellowship, for me.  I suppose it is my mid-west Methodist upbringing; the church service, coffee and cookies, and youth group clubs. There is no greater force than a flock of church ladies preparing a Sunday pot-luck. As a curious preteen, I shadowed the elders as they transformed a barren, sterile, basement church kitchen into an aromatically inviting, cornucopia of harvest and bounty.  The monthly pot-lucks showcased everyone’s “best of” dishes and casseroles. The prize was taking home an empty pan, evidence that your dish was favored by the pack.

Nonetheless, a magnetic desire to be surrounded by people floods me every Sunday.  So, this morning I found myself at the local public library.  While rifling through the DVD selections, I released a few giggles at titles I previously viewed.  The man on the opposite side of the cart from me belts out, “What?”  and looks directly at me. Blushing, I explained I had enjoyed certain titles  and recommended a few.  He in turn, recommended a movie I had not yet seen.  Not the mostly likely place to strike up a conversation with a stranger, after all, it is the library. I checked out my carefully chosen DVD s and returned home, with thoughts of what will I have for my Sunday dinner.

These days, money is tight, budgets are slim and the first item that is cut is food.  Living on a student’s salary allows for a simple meal plan; chow mien noodle meals, frozen vegetables, and fruit when it is on sale.  Turning like the wheels on my car, my mind recalls ingredients in my cupboards and frig.  Potatoes, rice, beef stock, carrots, onion, herbs and no meat.  I begin assembling my pot of stock and prepare my vegetables.   As it simmers, I watch the movie and surf the web.

An hour later, an instant message pops up from my yahoo account. My next door neighbor writes,  “come over…have some great meatballs to try”.  Light bulb moment! I load about half of the stoup (stew and soup) into a container and walk over to my neighbors to collect my meatballs. Combining the two was perfect.  The flavors married together for a hearty, robust meal. Absolutely perfect on the bone chilling day we were experiencing.

I was glad I started my soup base, and grateful my neighbors contributed.  Nothing short of a reenactment of the fable stone soup.  After all,  happy stomach, happy soul.

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