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Stone Soup


A landmark was reached in our family this year, and that was the passing of our last Grandparent. A generation now gone, only left are the memories we will carry with us always. But this is not a bad thing, just part of being mortal and a reminder that our time is finite on this planet.

After the crying, the funerals, and the many sympathies, comes the routine and the necessary. Taking care of the business of a death in the family. Cleaning out a lifetime of closets, sorting through clothes, passing on of treasured furniture and nick-knacks, and selling of a home. All of this brings back memories that flood the mind of days gone by. Some good, and some bad, like breaking a favorite vase, or rolling a tire down a steep hill into and through my grandparent's neighbors open garage. But for my family, the house was the center of our fondest memories.

For my oldest brother it was the smell of the garden. For my sister, it was the way the sun shown in the late afternoons on crisp spring days. My other brothers remember the way our Grandfather cut his grass. It seemed that every blade was exactly the same length, how did he do that, they thought. And the moon, who could forget the moon rising over the valley that stretched out in front of that house. It was no wonder they called that valley, "The Valley of the Moon". It looked so big and close, as if you could just reach out a grab it. But for all of those great memories that is not what I remember. For me it was making stone soup.

My fondest memory was making stone soup for the birds with my Grandmother. It entailed taking an old coffee can and filling it with stones we would gather together, mixing in some water and occasionally some dirt, and then leaving it for the birds to eat. Who knows why I thought the birds would like such a concoction, the things that go through a young child's mind. We would sit together and talk about the birds coming and making sure it was not too hot before they would eat the soup. And I always hoped that one day I would see a bird swoop down and take a drink. It never happened, but it was fun waiting and hoping. My grandmother was always ready with the ingredients to make that soup every time we visited. It was something that I couldn't wait to do each time we went.

Well now that house is gone, and a new family will start making memories of their own. My only wish is that I will be that type of grandparent to my grandchildren, as my grandparents were to me.

© 2005 - 2012 Hal Levy and the above captioned author.