I’d hoped to talk to him about the festival the tiny town holds every fall, but when I asked, he pulled out his phone.
“You should talk to the boss,” he told me. “She’s up at the house making a big pot of wedding soup — you can go on up there if you want, talk while she’s working.”
I said I didn’t want to bother her if she was busy but he said not to worry, then called her to tell her I was coming and gave me directions.
It’s the only house with a flag out front, he said. A huge flag.
And so five minutes later I found myself sitting at her kitchen counter, talking vendors and schedules and festival planning over a bowl of soup.
“This is a nicer interview than the last one,” she told me. “The last one, they stuck a microphone in my face. I can’t talk into a microphone. I just sound stupid.”
I’d have to agree. It was a nice interview.
Stories like these are hard, only because they’re so simple. The event is held every year. The schedule, the line-up, is basically the same year to year. So it’s hard to find anything to say that wasn’t said last year, or the year before.
But I figured 10 minutes, 15 minutes would be enough to find something to write.
She met me at the door, led me through a house dark from the heavy curtains pulled over the windows. The kitchen, though, was bright. A pot steamed on the stove and a pile of clean dishes drained in a sink, but that was all the evidence of the wedding soup operation he’d told me about.
If you’ve never had it, let me explain: wedding soup is an incredible amount of work. It’s a chicken-based soup with meatballs, eggs, pasta, and vegetables. Presuming you make your own meatballs and chicken stock, it’s multiple meals worth of effort.
I’ve only made it once.
But it’s also incredibly good. And I didn’t argue when she pressed a bowl on me.
When I left her house, notebook stained with broth, I followed narrow alleyways back to the main road that runs at the bottom of the ravine.
I used to cover this town, and I realized I miss it.
Because where else can your meeting with the mayor end up with a bowl of wedding soup at his wife’s kitchen counter?
And I might just take a day to make my own pot of wedding soup.