Some people just have to have a certain food or drink during a sickness. Maybe it is an Americanism to want chicken soup, but today I ordered chicken soup for MIL for the THIRD time. She never remembers if she has eaten or not, so I suppose she won’t get tired of something like chicken soup. But she did tell me that she knows that anything she raises is going to taste good. It’s been nearly thirty years since leaving the farm, raising her chickens, milking the cows, and fattening out a steer for beef. But I assured her that her chicken soup would always be good.
While we talked about chickens, I reminded her of how wonderful I always thought her chicken and dumplings tasted. She made the dumplings with her biscuit recipe—a recipe I was never able to duplicate. Then I told her about my first attempt at making biscuits after Fang and I married. He really TRIED to eat one, but I had to throw them out to the dog. The dog couldn’t hack them either apparently because we saw her bury them in the flower bed out front. Years later when we decided to dig up the flower bed, we found those biscuits only slightly worse for the wear than a rock. Even the earthworms wouldn’t try them!
As I was feeding my MIL today she looked up at me and said, “I hope I never have to return this favor for you.” She meant that she hoped that I never needed that kind of help. But she has already done it. When our youngest child was just a little critter, he nearly fell off the bed and I caught him. I knew it hurt my arm and back, but the next morning I thought I was really messed up when it hurt to move or breathe. Dr. Schaffner told us that I had torn some kind of muscle and had to lie flat of my back for ten days to give it a rest while taking muscle relaxants. I had no idea how I was going to take care of my family and lie down at the same time. Fang said not to worry and called his mom. She came and took care of everything. She even taught Little Boy the story of the Three Little Pigs. I heard that story at least 15 times a day. I finally had to ask MIL to teach him another story, but the new story still had the huff and puffs in it because he liked those and the chinney chin chins.
Oh, it doesn’t matter if the chicken soup comes out of a can and if the biscuits never saw real cow’s butter, but I wish MIL could understand how much The Three Little Pigs meant to me then and still does when I think of the love she gave us. Maybe that is what we are looking for in that soup can—the loving care of our mothers.