It all started with Perpetua’s tasty post on soup. With the nip of frost in the air, I’d already been making soups, but her mention of such intriguing delights as parsnip and apple soup and the flurry of comments that followed, with every soup imaginable described, some with recipes, my taste buds were on high alert. Since her post, which can be found here, I’ve made vegetable barley soup and tonight’s chicken dumpling. I love soup anytime, but the pot always seems to be simmering the most come Autumn.
Thinking about cooking soup and eating soup led me to thoughts of Robert Newton Peck’s book, “Soup & Me”, especially the hilarious chapter titled “Havoc on Halloween”.
Soup and Rob are childhood friends and we follow their mischievous boyhood adventures reminiscent of Peck’s own childhood. I’ve blogged about “Soup & Me” before which I am incorporating into this post.
My introduction to Soup was as a substitute teacher after our Jennifer was born. I was called in to a 4th grade classroom and there in the lesson plans, right after lunch, was scheduled a Robert Newton Peck book. I remember the children settling down quickly after lunch, eager to hear the next chapter, and so I began. Never having read a Soup book before, I didn’t know what I was in for until the words became blurry on the page as I tried, unsuccessfully, to stop laughing at the hilarity of Rob and Soup, in their Halloween costumes, one a pirate, the other a ghost, with an enormous pumpkin taken from Mr. Sutter’s patch, hauled into a wheelbarrow. and rolled down Sutter’s Hill to a party at the Baptist church, all to impress Norma Jean Bissell. Of course, the wheelbarrow with the heavy pumpkin picks up speed and the boys quickly lose control, as did I, laughing as loud as the children in the class.
From the street, there was one step up to the door of the Baptist Church. The door was closed. Actually it was a double door, painted red, coming at us like a giant red square. I tried to let go of the handle of the wheelbarrow, but my cramped fingers would not unlace. Just then, the one front wheel of the barrow hit the one step, and several things happened in rapid succession. The wheelbarrow, which had a split second earlier been traveling down Sutter’s Hill at a hundred miles an hour stopped with a buck. The pumpkin flew out and straight ahead. Soup and I tripped over the suddenly immobile bin of the barrow. The big pumpkin smashed open the doors of the Baptist Church, rolling at full steam down the center aisle. The aisle was waxed wood, causing Soup and I to slide on our bellies right behind the pumpkins. Pew after pew flew by.
Events did not stop there.
I didn’t see Norma Jean Bissell. But as I hurtled forward toward all the surprised faces, I did see Mrs. Stetson . . . kids were bobbing for apples in a huge tub of water. An adult was among them. Raising his dripping face from the tub of water, with an apple in his mouth, was none other than Mr. Hiram Sutter . . .
From “Soup & Me” by Robert Newton Peck. Illustration by Charles Lilly.
So from soup to smashing pumpkins, my mind floats like the leaves falling from the trees, with a hearty laugh tossed in for good measure.
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