Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Wiener Water Soup?

“I’m bringing your dinner in a little while, but go ahead and make something.”

It was Elenor on the phone, a dear woman who was part of our congregation in our first church.  Her own children and grandchildren lived far away, and her daughter was married to a pastor, so she felt a certain kinship for us, and we for her.

“If you need to go to the hospital in the middle of the night, just bring the baby over and she can sleep on my couch,” she offered when we first arrived.  She loved on our kids, and they affectionately called her and her husband ‘Nana and PapPap.’

My first encounter with Elenor was the Monday after our first Sunday.  The house was still piled with boxes, our three-month-old, who had been with her grandparents while we moved, had arrived on the scene.  I was back to balancing the needs of an infant and still trying to get settled in. It was late afternoon, and I hadn’t even thought about dinner.  Then the phone rang:

“I’ve got your dinner, but I’m not inviting you to eat here.”  It was Elenor.  “Bring some pots and pans, and come over. I’ve got your dinner.”

Okay…I thought.  I got directions to her house, and before I knew it, I was leaving with a pot of homemade ham and bean soup, slabs of cornbread, and a container of rice pudding.  I didn’t even think I liked ham and bean soup, but I graciously accepted the offer.

The food smelled so incredible and we were both so exhausted and hungry from the move and new experiences, we literally inhaled the soup, sopping up the bowls with the cornbread.  And the rice pudding?…. mmmm, heavenly.  So, this was Elenor.

We spent many a Sunday evening in her home, sharing sandwiches and ice cream with her and her husband.  Harold was a mechanic, and always made sure his pastor’s car was well cared-for.  Once she told us, “You have a standing invitation to dinner at our house. ”  Then she added, with a twinkle in her eye, “that way, if someone invites you out and you don’t want to go, you can say you’ve been invited to our house.”

So when Elenor called that day and said she had my dinner, but that I should go ahead and make something, I wasn’t sure what to expect — but one never did with Elenor.

Soon the doorbell rang, and in she came, with a small paper bag in her hand.  She greeted the kids and giggled as she set the bag on the dining room table.  “Here’s your dinner!”  She laughed.

She opened the bag and produced a canning jar, full of a murky-looking liquid, laughing again.  When she saw my quizzical look she explained.  “It’s wiener water soup!”

“It’s what?”

“Wiener water soup!  I heard about a pastor’s wife from another denomination.  The story went that they were so poor, that one night they would boil wieners for dinner, and the following night they would use that water to make soup… wiener water soup!”  She giggled again.  “So I made wieners last night, and decided to bring you the wiener water for soup!”

We laughed together, and soon she was out the door.  I shook my head and said to myself, “Only Elenor…”

To this day, I can’t make hot dogs without thinking of Elenor.  I feel bad for that pastor’s wife who had been so poor she’d had to eat ‘wiener water soup.’  Obviously, she’d never had an angel like Elenor to take care of her.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  Philippians 4:19-20