Split Pea Soup Again

Terry Connell
Terry Connell is a licensed acupuncturist and yoga teacher practicing in Old Town, Vallarta (www.eastmeetseast.net). In his spare time he walks his dog and reads and writes. His first book, “Slaves to the Rhythm” was a Cowley Literary Award Finalist (www.terryconnell.net).

With the summer heat in full force, I asked my father if he’d like me to make something other than split pea soup when I visited. Being a man of consistency, and simple pleasures, he said split pea soup was perfect. Two days later, I had all the ingredients in a paper bag and was sitting at the Warminster train station waiting for him to pick me up.
It was more than a year since I’d last saw him, and as we drove back to the retirement community making small talk, I tried not to be too obvious in looking at him, measuring how he was doing.
As we entered the apartment, classical music was playing loudly from the small stereo in the far corner.
Dad closed the door, and reminded me with a sheepish smile that ever since my mother died (seven years ago), he always kept the classical music station on.
“I don’t like all that silence around me,” he said, blinking away a few tears as he ushered me into the kitchen asking if I needed anything.
Half an hour later, the soup was simmering and Dad and I were having lunch with some violin concerto swaying in the background.
There was a natural flow to our conversation, with Dad doing much of the talking.
He shared story after story about his friends in the community, the pranks they play on each other, the trips they’ve taken, the nightly bridge games they play.
Suddenly I felt like a parent listening to his child talk about life in the dorms at college.
At some point, in a moment that still has me pinching myself, my conservative Catholic father told me about going to see “Nuns on a Bus” at Chestnut Hill College.
The tone of my “Really?” prompted Dad to say, “I’m not as old fashioned as you think. I don’t agree with the church’s stance on several things, homosexuality, married priests, female priests…”
And just like that; I was his son, watching and learning from my 82-year-old father, how to be a better man.
I hope I can be as graceful and open to life when I am that age.
Later on, after a nap and a walk to the pharmacy (where Dad greeted just about everyone he saw by name, and introduced me as “our son Terry”), I joined Dad and some of his friends for dinner.
For the next hour or so, I sat with six octogenarians in a noisy, crowded dining room as they tried to talk with each other.
Conversations were peppered with “Huh?” or “What’s he saying?” or misunderstood words, “Not pepper, weather!” Everyone cupped their hands behind their ears and leaned into each other – and everyone had a lot to say about their food.
When we came back up to his apartment after dinner, Dad opened the door and the classical music was still there, holding back the silence.
It was a symphony, with huge cymbal crashes and booming trombones.
Dad barely noticed. I portioned the soup into containers and put them in the freezer, and from behind, sounding like a college freshman, my Dad said, “Oh good, everyone’s been asking when you were making split pea soup again.”

3 comments

  1. Terry,
    “It is a wonderful life” especially for one who has lived for 81 years (the new 61) and enjoys split pea soup (make mine brown Lentils with Spinach ) … also for me , those long daily walks ( just three years younger, I walk between 20 to 30 and sometimes 40 long city blocks daily, rain or shine).

    The new definition of life in science is that what is moving. A new 61 can do more than that. When I retired five years ago, after a 55 year career in engineering and multi-million dollar projects, I went back to physical work painting my houses and tar and graveling their roofs; manually with ladder , hand paint brushes , buckets of paint and liquid tar, and sacks of pea gravel on detached houses three stories high. Plus, the daily walks, researching on the Internet , and vacationing in Puerto Vallarta.

    There is nothing more healthy than retirement : one actually has free time on their hands.

    Fortunately , my wife of almost 60 years is still with me, and depends on me as her caretaker , and all the housework is on me. But what the hell … I am still young and in perfect health with many many miles to go ahead of me.

    Go tell this to your father !.

  2. Terry, regarding you father not being old fashion regarding homosexuality, married priests, and woman priests, these beliefs go back further than the ancient priesthood and long before the modern Christian Bible. Perhaps over 200,000 to 450,000 years ago, as the story has been told over and over again by long gone civilizations.

    What the ancient Sumerian clay cuneiform tablets from Iraq have to say about these matters , is confirmed in the International Gene Bank, where some 232 genes found in the modern Homo sapiens sapiens genome , are not found in any other primate or other species.

    The 450,000 date was the arrival of the fallen angels or astronauts, and the 200,000 date was when one of their men impregnated a woman primate in a immaculate conception. Thus the woman was an earthling, and the male was a god. And thus women were not considered worthy of being of the priesthood, or a man who married a woman.

    Regarding homosexuality, the fallen angels considered a homosexual male to be a savage, and had to be converted by a prostitute woman, or be exiled into the wilds, away from civilization.

    Since this story is very ancient, the only proof are those 232 genes not found in any other species in the International Gene Bank. Savage then, today translates into a mental fault , as is the faith belief in one universal God. A possible human proof regarding homosexuality not being normal, is although there are many more pregnancies being male than female , many of these male fetuses do not reach term, and although there are more males born than females, by the time they reach puberty, the two sexes are mostly equal.

    Since a male cannot be a complete person without a female partner ( think family) males who believe that they are homosexuals, are depriving an equal number of women from being whole. Unfortunately, modern civilization has made the human genome unstable, unbalanced and somewhat insane, as the male Y chromosome is only some one-quarter its former size, and in older men may disappear completely as found in their immune system white blood cells.

    When I think of the animal cloning being done today, and mixing different species, and even races ,. one has to think of the primary sin of man.

  3. An US Alabama state judge told a man who was suing to stop the state from ignoring a Federal judge that overturned the state constitution banning same sex marriages, said he would not allow same sex marriages in Alabama , nor recognize same sex marriages from other states, and wrote the state governor to do the same.

    The judge said that same sex marriage was not natural and against religious law, and that there was only two sexes. He said that to follow the Federal law would be to say that there was no state Constitutions , or states, and to ignore the 82 percent of the state voters who said no the same sex marriages, would be to say that the vote of the people had no meaning.

    This judge has got balls!

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