Life is full of tales, is it not? The tale of Hansel and Gretel, the tale of Despereaux, the tale of two cities, even the tale of Snooki and the Jersey Shore. So many stories that move us to tears, that inspire and motivate or sadly, that cast terror into our lives at the very thought that people do really live and act like the Situation and his friends. The tale I want to leave you with today will most likely not kindle any of the previous mentioned feelings, but tell it . . . I will!
As long as my eyes have been blessed to open and awake each day in this world I have lived a life as a Chard child. There are many intricacies to that life that only a fellow Chard child could understand but it is our challenge to educate those around us and I take that challenge to heart. One aspect of our childhood that will set the stage for my tale comes from a carefree happiness and a “live in the moment” outlook on many endeavors into the life experience. Now is it right or wrong? I say, do not judge only enjoy, because we sure did!
The first of the month was a cause for celebration, money was comin’ in and we were a goin' out! A fun family film, a night in a nice restaurant with those you love (Chard children does “Christopher’s” ring a bell:); are these moments not what life is about, the simple pleasures? I dare say it is, dear read, I dare say it is. Another pleasure is, while being at the nice restaurant, ordering food that you love and that makes you glad that you have opposable thumbs – that food for my mother is . . . soup. There has almost never been a time in my life, with my mother, when an individual was setting a water glass down in front of me and introducing themselves as “Chip” or “Ronda” that my dear mother hasn’t looked up and asked, “What is the soup today?”
At this point in our little tale you might wonder, “Well, Mia, there are many options to that fine question.” Well, you are wrong. In my mother’s world there has only ever been one answer – Clam Chowder. My mother has only ever had one hatred in this world, seafood. Ironic, isn’t it? This child of the ocean, a woman born clutching sand and sea in her little palm, grew to have a full blown disdain for any meal that could be concocted from an underwater sea creature; most prevalent being the dreaded Clam.
If the calendar is correct and unless you are Mayan or Chinese, then this first of the month deluge of money has arrived and so out to the restaurant we went. Saturday took us to Applebee’s. We were going to a wedding and stopped at our neighborhood hangout for a hamburger with some friends while we watched the big game with our feet dangling from bar stools. The waiter arrived and without fail my mother asks, “What is your soup today?”
His response, “Well, its Friday, so, Chicken Noodle – oh wait, no, Saturday - - - well then it’s CLAM CHOWDER. Can I get you a bowl?”
My mother’s lip curls and her eyes brim with moisture, “Umm, No.” I laugh and we move on. Food is ordered, conversation flows and we soon are out in the cold again, on our way to Hooper.
Yesterday rolls around and we find ourselves in Logan, its dinnertime, we are still in the funds – Bluebird it is. After twenty years of asking the same question and getting the same answer, would you still ask it? My mother the optimist would, “What is your soup today?”
Before the words are out of waitresses mouth, my mom is shaking her head and casting her eyes to the menu; she knows the shape lips take before they speak the words, Clam Chowder.