“Life is an onion–
you peel it year by year and sometimes cry.”
To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.
To one without faith, no explanation is possible.
(the foggy rain accentuates the somber mood of these difficult days / Julie Cook / 2020)
Three years ago I wrote a post entitled ‘The Humble Onion’.
I’ve included the link below.
The post referenced a PBS show that I once loved watching, Foyles War.
It was a seasonal type of PBS show showcasing life in Hastings, England during
WWII—as seen through the life of the local Detective Chief Superintendent, Christopher Foyle.
A local police detective charged with keeping the peace in his small town during war.
Throw in the occasional murder by hire, grand theft, larceny, etc…
all compounded by the burden of war and it was a weekly captivating tale of intrigue
while living under a time of siege.
One of the episodes featured a story about a lottery over an onion.
The humble onion, as lowly as it is…is actually an integral component to cooking—
for it adds nuance, flavor, and depth to any dish to which it is added.
I was intrigued by the fact that they were having an office lottery over
a single onion…
They each longed to win the onion.
Yet what my 21st-century mind failed to wrap itself around was the fact that during the war,
onions were a difficult commodity to come by.
For those of you who don’t cook, you should know that onions are a prized culinary wonderment.
And this fact was greatly apparent during the days of rationing and sacrifice since
onions were not easily come by.
Just as this conundrum can quickly become a modern-day reality when I suddenly realize
I’m all out of onions during the height of a cooking extravaganza that requires an onion.
So flash forward to our present day.
We are all currently living life under siege.
Not the siege of war, but rather the siege of pestilence.
And now having been scavenged by a populace afraid of shortage,
many grocery store shelves are now bare.
Meaning we too are living with shortages and near rationing proportions.
It’s been a surreal adventure in our normally overloaded world of plenty.
For the past two weeks, I’ve made several mad runs to my local grocery of choice
in search of supplies to feed our family—a family who is now currently calling
our house, home central, while hunkering down.
Besides toilet paper, chicken, of all things, has been hard to come by…
as in, the shelves have been completely empty and bare.
Shelves that are normally filled with a plethora of organic, free-range, farm-raised,
all-natural parts and pieces of thighs, breasts, wings, drumsticks and even
entire roasting hens…now stand barren.
And wouldn’t you just know it— all I’ve wanted to cook is a chicken.
A humble yet succulent yard bird.
So yesterday morning…despite my husband’s foreboding and warnings of the dire
consequences should I risk my life while it was pouring down rain as infection
was waiting with my name on it, I made off to the grocery store…in search of chicken.
I thought the rain would hamper others who might come on a similar quest.
I was met by gals who had bleached and alcoholed shopping carts and were handing them off
to incoming soaking wet and leary shoppers.
Folks wearing masks and gloves, while I simply donned a ball cap and rain jacket.
I made my way past the produce section and bakery, making a beeline for the
Would it be there?? I fretted…
And what to my wondering eyes did appear—
it was my heart’s delight…chicken!!!
A large sign alerted shoppers that only two packs could be purchased per household.
I opted for a roasting hen and a pack of chicken tenders.
I was so excited.
I made my way through the store gathering what I could from my list.
Things that were in stock but limited to, once again, only two per household.
I couldn’t believe how happy a single roasting hen could make me feel.
Something I would normally take for granted.
Something that would normally be plentiful and considered average fare.
But to me, a roasting hen is a blank canvas that has become my symbol
of comfort and normalcy.
And so later in the evening, after we enjoyed our wonderful dinner,
my daughter-in-law shared something with me
that I’d like to share with you.
It was something she read that Jenna Bush Hagar, one of President’s Bush’s twin daughters
has posted. It is a piece entitled Good Bones written by Maggie Smith.
It’s poignant, harsh, tender, painful and yet, there remains in the end…hope
The hope of what could be…
May we, for the sake of our children, try for what could be…