The Incarcerated InkWell

Federal Inmate in a Canadian Prison with a Life Sentence writes about prison life

All in the Family

Well a couple of weeks ago, before the tissue box and sneezes were my constant companions, I had the joy of inciting a riot.

But of course, you say, you’re that con’s wife. Yet I would recommend a riot for anyone. Especially when the result is killer soup stock.

My landlords are of the elderly sort. Not the kind that are out r.v.’ing in the summer and off to Arizona when it starts to get crispy. No. Canes, wheelchairs, medications, and all sorts of safety devices for the home is what we’ve got going on here. One of the things that also seems to appear with this demographic is a tendency to feel a bit low. That comes with the realization that one cannot do what one used to do. My neighbours can no longer tend to their yard.

It’s some yard. Huge, in fact. It happened to be a necessity for them as they had produced oh, about 10 children. Gotta have some place for the kids to play.

However, mom and dad got a kick out of it too. Over the decades, this yard popped with colours of every sort because of the flowers. In fact, people from all around used to come and admire the flower beds. There were a lot of happy times.

As with all things, kids grow up, get married and leave home. For this household, the empty nest took a while to appear. When it did, broken bones and sickness moved in. In the yard, some things took on a life of their own while others died off. Also, undesirables emerged – yup, you’ve got it. Weeds.

What’s this got to do with soup stock? Spring cleaning actually.

I suggested a “call to arms” to my dear, tired neighbours. Seeing as they had been prolific by producing a significant brood, it would make light of the considerable work load if many hands came and were put to it. Since I am not a yard person, and in this case I am the outsider, my offering was turkey.

The call was put out, “Come. Work. EAT.” What began as a quiet day with me stuffing the turkey in my little unit grew into the loud, vibrant, whirlwind that is family. Sons and daughters clearing the brush in the yard, digging up weeds and starting fires (it was a riot after all). Husbands-in-law cleaning windows and chasing after little ones. Great-grandchildren carrying jars of frogs, tracking mud into the foyer (which was kind of a bummer becauser we were trying to get things clean).  In all, thirty people engaged in various levels of yelling.

Until you happen to say “the turkey’s ready, go wash up.”

I thought that things were moving quickly before, but supper being on the table took it up a notch. Despite all the serving spoons dishing out the goods, everyone eating and laughing, we still had enough for seconds. And leftovers. And soup fixin’s.

While examining the yard the next morning and my stock was simmering, it was mentioned that the previous day had brought a lot of joy to the old ones. A gathering like that hadn’t been seen for a few years, and there was a satisfaction with life.

So now I’m here sitting here, watching the yard come to life. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I have another turkey. I’d like to start another riot…

Any suggestions?

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