November 15

Posted on: November 15, 2012

Carolyn finally got back to me.  This also let me know the cellphones are still working.  I put a couple of logs in the stove and headed over to her house across from the church.  In her 70’s with a crop of curly gray hair and lively blue eyes, she’s fit and spry, with a delightful sense of humor, though there’s not much funny lately.

“I did see you hiding in the back pew on Sunday, Deborah,” she smirked, “do I have a new convert?  Or is something else on your mind?”

“Definitely something else, Carolyn,” I paused.  “I was listening to some of the concerns of the congregation, mainly about our food supply. I have an idea for ‘feeding the masses’ and I think you are the perfect choice.  Before you say anything, hear me out.  I’d like to see a soup kitchen get started.  The catholic church isn’t suitable, since one has to go down that flight of stairs to get to the kitchens.  Your church just has that short ramp, making it much more accessible.  Plus your area is bigger.”

“Go on”, she looked interested.

“Do you know the story of the Stone Soup?”

“You mean the one where a stranger comes into the poor town, looking for food and no one has any.  So he claims he has a magical stone that will make soup, all he needs is a large pot of water over a fire.  After putting the stone from his pocket into the pot, he says ‘it will be good, but it will be better if there were a couple of carrots to put in’ and someone brought out some carrots. And so on with potatoes and onions, until there was a pot of real vegetable soup and everyone was fed.”

“Yes! That story.  What if you had a soup kitchen, where people could bring a can of something to donate to the pot, and then have a meal in the warmth of the church basement?  We could call it The Stone Soup Kitchen.” I let that sink in for a moment, but her smile was quick.

“Hunting season started today.  I’m sure one or two of the guys would be willing to donate some venison to add protein to the pot. And I love the name: The Stone Soup Kitchen,” she seemed to roll it around in mouth.  “Yes, that would be the perfect name.  I like it a lot.” Her pause next was too long. “Why are you doing this?” her question was honest, and blunt.

“First of all, Carolyn, I care about this town and the people here.  Second, as the Emergency Manager for the township, I know people are easier to take care of if they’re not so hungry.  I am NOT going to confiscate anyone’s food.  If someone was smart enough to stock up for the winter, then good for them, it’s their food.  But if we make it easy for people to voluntarily share or donate, I think we will have a much better response.  You could even ask for plate donations to be a can of something, since money is useless right now. What do you think?”

“I think God was wise in putting you in our community,” she gave me a hug.

“And all this time I thought it was Pete”, I said under my breath. She ignored me.

We went over some details about what would be needed: cooks, someone to set up chairs and clean up, all volunteers from the congregation; plus the different possibilities for food, soup might get boring after a while, but at least it will be food.  I plan on announcing this at the town meeting tomorrow, and she will make it part of her sermon on Sunday.  It’s hard to estimate just yet how many people are left in town, but I think after the meeting we might have a better idea.  I know many are leaving to stay with relatives in other towns, since this town is so isolated.  A soup kitchen feeding a hundred people …. I don’t know, it might work, but for how long?

I made another last minute decision, which seem to be as frequent lately as people just nodding. “You could start it on Thanksgiving.  There’s an extra turkey in my freezer you can have.”  Geesh, I thought she was going to start crying, so it seemed like a good time to make my exit. I was back home before noon.

Has it really been only nine days since the first earthquake?  Feels like so much longer.

Same chores needed to be done: chickens were let out, fed and watered; wood was brought in to replace what was burned yesterday; floors swept, dishes washed.  I took some fish out of the freezer for dinner, and will fix some rice to go with it;  then got a pound of burger out for tomorrow.

I went across the road to talk to Tom about coming over to add wood to the stove when I have to be gone, and mentioned the town meeting to them.  Norene was adamant about not getting involved.  Their two freezers are stocked full, they won’t need anything or anyone for a long time, at least not until they run out of gas for their generator.  I’ve tried to talk to them about their dependency on power, but since they’re older they know better than me <snort> and are still sure power will be back up soon.  I hope they’re right, I fear they’re wrong.

Another cold day, and colder night.  Power came on around 9pm, but was off again at 9:45.  At least I was able to save generator gas and filled a couple of buckets with water, and recharged the cell phone.  I wonder how much of a charge 45 minutes will give to the tower batteries?

5 thoughts on “November 15

  1. When I was in first grade the Stone Soup story was one of my favorites! I think one of my children’s teachers actually made a “stone soup” to go along with the story.
    Really enjoying your Journal Deborah.

  2. Stone soup kitchen… I like the idea. Now, can you get your fictional town to cooperate? ;o) Still interesting, I look forward to seeing what happens tomorrow :o)

  3. I sure hope this stays fiction. I would be still picking up the pieces, rounding up spooked livestock and patching fences. Plus taking a self-education crash course on canning over a wood fire as I empty the freezers. All while trying to “go primitive”, stay warm, and keep the critters fed. The tale does make food for thought.

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