‘Tis a sad story really…how Emma lost her mind. It started out interestingly enough, but then… Well… Let me just tell the story…
Emma makes a wonderful homemade vegetable soup. The soup usually follows a Sunday roast beef dinner. She dices the remaining potatoes and beef to soup size bites, then adds a can of diced tomatoes, frozen mixed vegetables, some water and extra flavor via Knorr’s. Shortly before serving, Emma stirs the alphabet pasta into the soup, which cooks quickly. Walla! Emma’s wonderful veggie soup is ready to eat.
After supper, Emma brings her soup to a steady simmer for the canning. She always makes enough soup so that she can put up 3 quarts for her hubby to eat whenever the mood strikes him. She quickly ladles the hot soup into mason jars. Once lids are secure, she flips them over for the sealing process. Though, technically not “canned”, the process is sufficient enough to keep in the fridge for a month or so, if it should happen to last that long…which it doesn’t. Her hubby, George, loves Emma’s soups! He almost always has a choice between veggie, chicken noodle and/or chicken & rice soup – all lovingly cooked and put up on the top shelf of the fridge in sparkling mason jars – all for him. George loves soup almost as much as he loves Emma.
It all started innocently enough… Emma was considering a large purchase, which is something she rarely does. You see, Emma is just about as thrifty as they come. Having been raised by a Mom who, according to her Dad, could pinch a nickel until the Indian screamed, Emma learned all the tricks to save money, and then learned more tricks of her own.
Emma’s lifelong plan for a comfortable retirement was at fruition, so large purchases were considered well before a purchase. Emma was trying to decide whether she really needed a new standing mixer since she does quite fine with the hand mixer…but it would be easier to make bread dough, she rationalized, plus, she really, really wanted that mixer. It was with this on her mind when she opened her fridge for a cold drink of water that the soup episode began. Emma glanced at the soup she had just put up the day before. She immediately noticed the letters ‘Y E S’ were clearly visible on the inside of the soup jar. Emma took that as a sign she should buy the mixer. And, so she did.
Only a few days later, Emma was getting some eggs from the fridge when she noticed that the soup now said ‘N O’. Emma had been fuming all morning about a family situation in which she dearly wanted to wring someone’s neck… figuratively speaking, of course. Emma giggled a little and let the anger go right then and there.
As time went on, Emma noticed that the soup was “telling her things”. She put a big red circle with a slash through it on the lid of that one jar so that George would know he was not to eat it. She wouldn’t give him a reason beyond “Just don’t eat it”. George humored her, so there the jar stayed for a year or more. But, he noticed that whenever Emma had something on her mind, she stood staring into the fridge. He suspected maybe she had developed some disease like Alzheimer’s or something… He just watched her for further symptoms, but she only seemed strange when staring into the fridge. Otherwise, she was quite herself.
George called it an accident, but, really, I wonder… One day, he was looking for a jar of jam when he accidentally knocked Emma’s soup off the shelf. The contents had been looking very disgusting for a couple of months, but Emma clung to that jar of soup like her whole life depended upon it. Quick as a wink, the jar hit the floor, exploding on impact into a mess worthy of a Nickelodeon production. Emma rushed to the kitchen to see what happened. I’m told that Emma’s reaction was extreme, including wailing while trying to scoop her smelly, rotten soup into another jar. George called 911. The paramedics whisked Emma off to the hospital for a nice little stay on the 14th floor….
With counseling and medication, Emma was deemed to be well enough to go home after 2 months. George had no clue that Emma was anything but well again. Things went on as was usual before the soup incident. Emma once again did those things that she did her whole life – entirely rational things.
But, one Monday morning, Emma decided to recycle her Sunday roast beef dinner into her homemade veggie soup. It was right at the end that she snapped. As she was stirring the alphabet pasta into the soup, the soup began to “talk” to her. First, the soup said “I missed you Emma” and “I love you Emma”. Then it turned ugly. The soup told Emma that it hated George and that it was all George’s fault that they had been separated. Emma was so engrossed in her messages from the soup that she didn’t notice George standing quietly behind her. He had been reflecting on Emma’s concentration on the soup, which was not unlike how she used to stare into the fridge. He noted that it was trance like. George said “Are you okay, Emma?” Emma quickly stirred her soup before turning to George. “I am good, George. Soup will be ready shortly. Just relax in the living room and I will call you when supper is ready.” Emma smiled at George until he was safely out of the room, and then turned her full attention onto the soup. The soup said “He will put you away again” ~ stir ~ “He must go” ~ stir ~ “Do it now”. Emma nodded quickly, and then looked under the sink for the can of Draino…
Well, you know the rest….