When I started this blog two weeks ago, I gave the impression that I was going to occasionally address the topic of onions. Since that seminal and intoxicating day, I notice that I really have not paid much attention to my friend and avatar, the lowly onion.
I got through the first few layers at a good clip, but already I can feel myself slowing down a bit; growing lazy, fearful, or both. It is difficult to peel back to the point where things become raw and shiny. I need to do something about this and get a better knife or maybe a better cutting board.
Or maybe I need new recipes. I just googled “recipes with onions” and I found: Creamy Vidalia Onion Soup, Onion Jam, Tarte a l’Oignon, and Daddy’s Fried Corn and Onions. I like the sound of that last one. That last one sounds so exceedingly fun and tasty, I am putting a picture of it here.
Since my father died, I have thought of little else but death. It helps that it is autumn and everything is dying in the most stunning and colorful way imaginable, or at least going dormant. I did take my own advice last Sunday morning when I felt a little “out-of-sorts” and I fried up a big skillet of onions, poured some beaten eggs over them, and sprinkled on some dill and shredded parmesan. I ate that with my last real summer tomato. You know the kind of tomato I am talking about. My breakfast was one of those simple yet divine meals that makes me wonder why on earth I ever go out to a restaurant.
Meanwhile, I have been amazed at how many other fathers or mothers have died recently according to the Gospel of Facebook. Maybe it is just my demographic. As we approach middle life, we all start to lose our parents at pretty much the same time and at an alarming rate. It is just the law of averages at work, I guess.
I can now say that I have crossed that line and am a member of the group that has lost a father. I will say flat out that I am not happy to be here with you. And I am quite sure that you are not happy to be here either. But here we are, circling ourselves, hanging onto deep traditions, trading recipes, trying to think of ways to continue to feel whole.
For me, this is where the onion comes in. You probably have your own thing that spells D_A_D and if you haven’t thought of it in a while, I suggest you think of it now. Especially if you still have your father. Think of what you love about him and let him know. Even if he mostly drives you nuts. Believe me. You will like this little exercise and so will Dad.
But let’s face it, some of us have become beings with no fathers. We can claim no living link any longer to the place from which sprang the seed that led to our creation. That is heavy shit, really, if you think about it. No wonder we feel bereft. If there had been no father—that particular father at that particular time—we as we know ourselves would not be here.
Yes, mothers figure in too. Of course. I adore my mother. And I, myself, am a mother to someone and I won’t ever let him or you forget that. In fact, consider this: There could not even be the concept of “father” if there was no mother to absorb the seed and do something useful with it. Without “mother,” “father” would be a moot point. So, fear not my onion-loving friends, I will get to moms in another post, later.
But, just for this morning, let’s cook up a big vat of Daddy’s Fried Corn and Onions and wash it down with a cold beer. For breakfast? On a Wednesday morning? Sure. Why not? Who said you can’t have beer and onions for breakfast on Hump Day?
Then, let us praise fathers, and let us praise the onion, too. Let them be together, hot and holy. Let us exalt that pungent seepage, the way it burns us to tears. Let us remember why we are here, where we hope to journey, and who laid down the seed that made us.