64 years of marriage.
It sounds a lot of time. To live it must seem even longer. I only dream about it, because I don’t see too much chance for that for us, unless we will be blessed by really long lives.
To live so many years together with your partner in love and peace seems for me the biggest present life could give to someone.
I have been his returning customer for a couple of years. He has his stand among the primary producers in the farmer’s market hall, he almost always wears a hat and sells flowers from his garden. Early spring I bought a bouquet of hyacinth, then later tulips. I find absolutely charming the way he puts a piece of thread around the tulips’s head to avoid them to open to soon.
He always smiles and wraps the bouquets into newspaper and hands it over along with some kind words.
I am rushing around the market on Friday when I recognise him with only two bunches of spring onions in front of him, instead of flowers. Actually I didn’t plan to buy any onions, I don’t even have an idea what to cook with them at that moment, but I know I have to buy them. I am wondering how many products he has brought if he has only two bunches of onions at 10. a.m.
‘Where are you from’, I ask while looking for some coins in my purse.
It turns out that he comes from a village 60 km far away. There is a bigger city nearby, but it is difficult for him to show off there with so little products. Then he starts talking about the flowers that he and his wife used to grow in huge green houses.
‘We used to work a lot. In the old days, woman’s day was a big day for us. Men not only bought one bouquet, they asked how many bouquets are in a box, and they bought boxfuls of them. We used to bind bouquets all night long. I cannot do so much alone…
For a moment, time stops and the rush and noise of the market also seems to quiet down a little bit.
‘Already 2 years have been passed since then….I wanted to leave to go the market, as usually, but my wife was still sleeping. ‘Honey the bus won’t wait for me’, I told her but she didn’t wake up any more. Her brain stopped her heart, you know. Her face was quiet, she didn’t have any pain, only fall asleep.’ He stops for a second then continues. ‘The doctor told me this is the way he wants to die. So peacefully.
Tears comes in his eyes and he falls silent. I keep silence with him.
‘What was her name’, I ask lastly.
‘Erzsébet (Elisabeth), he answers and wipes his eyes. He waits for a moment then continues:
‘It feels so good talking a little bit, you know, I rarely have occasion for that. If you don’t mind I stop you for a little bit more, I would like to tell you that my niece has several degrees and language exams. She is very smart. And has a really good heart. She has got a fixed-term job to replace a colleague temporary who expected her child. She was loved and her work appreciated but the time has come when the colleague came back to work. My nieces’s boss called her to his office and told her, that he would rather keep her and lay off the mother instead but she refused. ‘ I won’t take away the job from a mother with three young children’ she said. ‘, the old man raises his voice in outrage.
‘In the end the both kept their jobs and she has been recently promoted.’ Tears comes to his eyes again.
‘You can be really proud of her’, I tell him.
‘I am, really proud….Oh, I am really sorry for holding you up, thank you for listening. I won’t come next week, but in two weeks I will bring some flowers again.
We say ‘good bye’ to each other and I also wipe out some tears from my eyes before I continue my way to the dairy stand. I know that in reality I have to thank to him because I finally got so much more than two bunches of spring onions.
Asparagus cream soup with spring onions
10 spring onions
20 green asparagus
1000 ml cold water
100 ml cream
2 middle-sized potatoes (approximately 400 g)
extra virgin olive oil
Goat cheese toast (optional)
4 slices of goat cheese
4 slices of bread
- Soak asparagus in cold water for a couple of minutes in order to dissolve any trace of sand. Cut off 1 cm from the ends. Take an asparagus into your hands and bend it until it breaks. Use the end part for the soup and keep the upper part as decoration. Peel the ends and cut into smaller pieces.
- Peel potatoes, dice and keep it in cold water until you use them. Cut off the dark green part of the spring onions chop the rest.
- Heat up olive oil in a pot, add spring onion, season with salt and sauté until it gets tender. Add asparagus and sauté until it gets a little colour then finally add potatoes and water. Season with salt, and cook covered until the potatoes and asparagus are tender.
- Puree with a hand blender, add cream and bring it to boil again, then remove from heat.
- The asparagus tops you can leave whole, or you can cut into smaller pieces. Heat up some olive oil in a frying pan, and roast the asparagus until it gets a nice colour and becomes tender. For the side dish drizzle some olive oil over the bread slices, put goat cheese on top and put it into the grill oven for a couple of minutes.
Serve soup with the toast and roasted asparagus.
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