Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Rachel's Stuffed Shells

I've told this vacation-to-Texas story before, but the food memory didn't take center stage.

I was two months pregnant in September of 1999, not feeling queasy, with the flexibility of traveling whenever we wanted because we were homeschooling.  We chose September because it would be slightly (one degree?) cooler in Texas.  The vacation was supposed to be a leisurely 12 days in the van with three kids, roundtrip to visit my two sisters. Andrea lived near the border of Mexico, Rachel  five hours north.

We spent three days getting there and three days getting home, but while there, I remember snippets.

The first full day was great--I got to watch my kids ride Andrea's horse. 

The second day I started experiencing a miscarriage.  I knew the symptoms all too well; I'd lost a baby in my second trimester in 1996. It could take a while and I decided to go ahead and do some sight-seeing just over border with my family .Between the poverty, the begging native children, the heat, and the pending loss, I pretty much spent the day crying and letting Rachel know we would have a change a plans once we got to her city.

The third  morning  someone broke out the back passenger window of our vehicle, so we wasted half a day getting that fixed.  Our oldest son got stung by a fire ant while checking out the broken glass. 

The fourth day I was in the emergency room at a small hospital.  I honestly don't remember a single nurse or doctor. I just remember a painful labor of sorts and realizing the exact moment the baby passed, and my husband consoling me as best he could.  While we were at the hospital, Rachel's husband and Andrea took the kids tubing on the Guadalupe.   I spent the afternoon recovering on the sofa, holding Rachel's  four-month-old baby,  while she fixed dinner I still remember how satisfying the meal: stuffed shells.  Comforting, filling, delicious stuffed shells.   Great food also for the terribly sunburned kids after their tubing trip. 

On the way from Rachel's to our hotel, we witnessed a plague of grasshoppers. Apparently every seven years or so there's an outbreak along the Guadalupe River. They attacked the van, they covered the exterior walls of the bookstore, they crackled under our flip-flops as we entered Walmart, they buzzed in the air like electric clouds. I was going out of my mind with fear and disgust.

Not even our hotel room was bug-free: one grasshopper jumped out from under the pillow, and another on the bathroom counter made me scringe (scream and cringe at the same time). It took me till midnight to fall asleep, and when I awoke at four, I was having a private funeral in my mind and mourned the loss of my fifth child. 

But I was grateful that I hadn't been through this experience alone. My sisters had played key roles in my comfort and healing, not the least of which  was Rachel's fabulous cooking of stuffed shells.


Connie Gruning said...

{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}} What trip!! I'm glad you were with your sister and your husband. My sister would be someone I want to care for me in that case.
A to Z-ing to the end
Peanut Butter and Whine

Lea Culp said...

Well, just might be called "comfort food" for sure. Goodness, what a trip but so glad you had your sisters close at hand. I've always wanted a sister but thank the Lord I am blessed with a sister in law that is just like a sister to me and is always there for me no matter the miles between us.

Happy Monday!

mare ball said...

Wow. What a trip. I have a stuffed shells memory...after my 3rd child, I was so hungry. I neighbor made her Italian meatballs and spaghetti and brought a pan over. To this day, I can taste how wonderful they were, how nourishing they felt. Food can really soothe the soul. I'm sorry for the loss of your baby. You know that sweet child is with God, don't you? :-) I'm popping in from the a-z and I love finding other believers in the blogsphere! I'm a new follower. Come visit, if you'd like:
from The Dugout
Just a thought - the captcha code inhibits comments. many readers just move on when they see it. For the a-z, you might want to disable it. :-)

Susan Kane said...

A trip that has so many levels of memories. Healing takes forever.


Beth Zimmerman said...

I'm so sorry you had to face such a loss during a vacation! That's awful! What a blessing to have some good memories mixed in with the grief!