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I Got a Visit on All Souls’ Day

November 3, 2015
My Dad, in his favorite sweatshirt, with me walking on the beach years ago.

My Dad, in his favorite sweatshirt, with me walking on the beach years ago.

I was rooting around in my closet a few nights ago looking for a jacket to wear because,  joy of joys, it’s finally cool in the evenings here. As I slid clothes along the wooden rod in my tiny closet,  I spotted my dad’s favorite green sweatshirt.

He loved that sweatshirt and used to wear it all the time — really — I mean ALL the time. If you didn’t take it off of him and demand to wash it, he would have never removed it

After he passed away, I just had to keep it. I hugged him so many times in that sweatshirt, I can still feel the boney shoulders of the still strong, but much frailer man he became in his final years.

Mom and Dad's clothes in my closet.

Mom and Dad’s clothes in my closet.

Of course I grabbed it and hugged it close to me, tightly closing my eyes and remembering how good it felt to be hugged by him. I was afraid I’d forget that feeling someday, so I thought keeping the sweatshirt would be a good reminder. I just couldn’t put it away. I wanted it out for a few days but I didn’t know why.

Then I eyed my mom’s pink bed jacket. I bought it for her just a few months before she passed away. It was satiny and pink and she loved it. So, of course after she left us, I had to keep it. I wear it so much my kids and friends mock me for it.

Then I realized that last night marked the end of All Souls Day. The day when we remember loved ones, no longer with us, and my Monday started to make sense.

I saw a beautiful blog about Dia de los Muertos, by one of my favorite bloggers; BaddestMotherEver. She wrote about her friend and how he celebrates the Day of the Dead, a tradition in Mexico. You create an altar and post photos of your loved ones at the top and then place things they enjoyed in life below and you invite them into your home.  Then she wrote a sweet piece about her dad.

Well, I think I felt the presence yesterday of a couple of souls.

I went to a Starbucks to work on my book for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but kept nodding off because I’m still getting over a nasty cold. I felt guilty for not getting enough work done, but I could hear my mom saying what she always said when I was sick: “Honey, you gadda getta  somma rest. Go lay down a.”So, I cut myself some slack for nodding off. Weirdly, when I got home from Starbucks,I wasn’t tired anymore and felt compelled to cook.

I knew my daughter was coming home in the rain, so I made her some mulled wine mixed with apple cider, a cinnamon stick, some cloves, and a splash of and Rock N Rye, which is killer good!

While that was simmering, I roasted some red peppers, butternut squash, and garlic, preparing to make soup. Then my daughter got home and said she was ravenous, so I offered to make her some pasta with pesto. Here’s the link to the pesto recipe from one of my old blog posts.

And then…you know when you cook something, and you’re really hungry, and it’s exactly what you’re craving, and tastes unbelivably good? Well, that happened. The pasta with pesto was ridiculously perfect. She devoured it, I inhaled mine, then she invited her boyfriend over and he polished his off in minutes. Then, they both had some of the butternut squash soup I made and loved it too. We all decided that indeed, food magic had definitely occurred. And I had that wonderful feeling that being a mom and cooking for my kids is the best thing ever.

Dad in his garden taped to my wall.

Dad in his garden taped to my wall.

Then I realized why — my parents were here! That’s why I was drawn to their clothes and felt compelled to cook! That’s why we didn’t just like it, we loved it last night. We were enjoying it for them. They both loved pasta with pesto, cooking and feeding people — especially their kids.

Mom in Rolodex watching me work.

Mom in the Rolodex watching me work.

I have pictures of both, my dad and my mom at my desk, so I can see both of them as I sit and write. It’s not exactly an altar, but I think they know they have a standing invitation to visit me anytime, and  last night, I really feel like they did.

I hope someone you love visited you yesterday too.

Awesome Butternut Squash Soup

1 small roasted butternut squash, (about 2 lbs. cut in half, seeded and roasted until tender)

1 1/2 heads of roasted garlic

1 cup of roasted red, or yellow bell pepper, peeled and sliced into one inch strips

1/4 cup butter

2 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (or more if you like a thinner broth)

1 1/2 tsp. curry

1 1/4 tsp. cumin

1 to 2 teaspoons  of salt (or more to taste)

2 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream (optional)

Sriracha drizzle on top of soup as garnish – be careful, this stuff can be spicy hot!  (optional)

Place the butter in a large, heavy soup pan and let it melt. Scoop the garlic out of each clove and place it in the pan with the butter. Stir it well, over low heat, then add the pepper slices. Scoop the butternut squash out of the shell and place it into the pan.  Stir all the ingredients together.  Then, pulverize the ingredients with a stick blender.  Once fully pulverized, add the chicken or veggie broth, curry, cumin, salt, and whipping cream.  Cook over medium heat until heated through and serve. (You can also run it through a mesh strainer if you want it smoother.)  The Sriracha is optional, but the kids really liked it.  It’s a little spicy, so be careful not to add too much.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Ah, Fran. As I write, I am wrapped in my mom’s caftan–one of the few pieces of hers I kept after she passed. I also have a cape of hers. I never thought about feeling “hugged” by her clothing—thank you for that thought, I just knew it made me fell close to her. I also kept a hummingbird figurine of hers because she loved hummingbirds so–even kept a feeder outside her apartment window in the small garden she tended (against the wishes of the management). Mostly, I think of her when I use her cast iron skillets. Your posts always bring a tear to my eye, and conjure up my own deep memories. It is presently 34 degrees outside and I wish you were near enough for some of that soup–sounds SO good. And I miss your company. Love you.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 5, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Awww Linda, I can just see you looking regal in the caftan. Enjoy those memories, your mom went to some trouble to create some doozies for your memory bank! I wish I was there too, I’d love mucking around with you in the kitchen! One of these days, we will do it!

  • Reply
    Baddest Mother Ever
    November 3, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Fran, this made me cry with delight! They were there in the soup and the sauce and the love! I got a call from my uncle tonight and he told me stories I never knew about my dad. What sweetness!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 3, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      Oh Baddest, (I love calling you that) I am so happy you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for stopping by. I read your post about your uncle calling, how wonderful you answered the phone! You never know what little gift lies waiting for you in life! You were the inspiration for this post, so I’m glad you got to read it.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Just hours after reading your post, I was out and about in our town doing field work. Its a gorgeous autumn afternoon and during my work, I noticed a gentleman walking briskly along a greenbelt trail. He was a senior citizen, white haired, with a big smile on his face….and was wearing a green, collared sweatshirt! I stopped what I was doing for a few moments and just watched him walk by and smiled…thinking of you and your loving dad. 🙂 Loved the post!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 3, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Awww Michelle, how sweet. He loved being out on a day like that. I hope some of his amazing energy went into that man’s step! Thanks for always reading and for taking the time to respond!

  • Reply
    Patty Tunno
    November 3, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    What a delicious post! So many lovely memories, some old and some new. Great photos too!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 3, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      Thank you Sweet Patty. I just realized I forgot to post a shot of the soup. Better go do that now. Thanks for always reading and responding with something so nice. xoxoxo!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2015 at 9:15 am

    Great article Fran. You should send it to a Women’s Day, BH&G or Redbook  or some similar magazine and tell them you’d like to be a monthly feature. By the way a pound of turkey sausage mixed in with that soup is killer!!!!! From: At Fran’s Table To: Sent: Tuesday, November 3, 2015 9:44 AM Subject: [New post] I Got a Visit on All Souls’ Day #yiv5550804599 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv5550804599 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv5550804599 a.yiv5550804599primaryactionlink:link, #yiv5550804599 a.yiv5550804599primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv5550804599 a.yiv5550804599primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv5550804599 a.yiv5550804599primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv5550804599 | Fran Tunno posted: “I was rooting around in my closet a few nights ago looking for a jacket to wear outside because,  joy of joys, it’s finally cool in the evenings here. As I slid clothes along the wooden rod in my tiny closet,  I spotted my dad’s favorite green sweatsh” | |

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 3, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      Wow, I’ll bet! Never thought of turkey sausage, I’ll bet it’s good. This is one for my vegetarian friends! Since I’m always waxing poetic about pork, I figured they deserve this!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Very nice article “Ms Julia Childs” Too bad we couldn’t all have been there. Enjoyed the photos too. ☺

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 3, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      Thanks Mare. I know. One of these days I’ll make that soup for you guys, it’s sooooo good!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Beautiful post Fran, infused with love. Your description of putting together comfort food for your daughter — I can see you moving around in your adorable kitchen — was heartwarming. Made me want to sit at Fran’s table.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 3, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      Aww Zoe, come over, I’ll serve you some soup. We better do it while it’s still cool enough to enjoy soup! Thanks for the sweet words.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Love you and this post so very much. It was a powerful day indeed.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 3, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      Love you right back little Nicol. Thanks for always reading and taking the time to comment. Coffee soon!

  • Reply
    Robert Tunno
    November 3, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Well written Fran. Nice memories replace the pain of loss over time. Butter nut soup also helps


    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 3, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      No kidding. I actually put on Mom’s jacket and wrapped dads around me so they could hug each other. I am that much of a dweeb. And yes, the soup did wonders for us!

      • Patty Tunno
        November 4, 2015 at 10:31 am

        I love that you wore both clothing items and created their hug !💞

  • Reply
    November 3, 2015 at 8:20 am

    A beautiful and delicious post! Thank you, Fran.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 3, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      You are most welcome Goddess. Thanks for reading and taking the time to respond!

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