PUT THE ONION ON


Two or three afternoons  a week, at four or five o’clock, Great-Aunt Helen would announce to her friends over the bridge table ,”Got to run home quickly and put the onion on!” This was a subterfuge she had used for some 45 years to mislead her husband that his dinner was on the way!  (The odor of frying onions is irrisistible to a hungry man.)

She lived in a large old Victorian house which had been built by my Great Grandfather in the 19th century.  My husband and I rented the third floor attic from her for three years for the exhorbitant amount of $35 per month when we first married 65 years ago.

Aunt Helen was a larger than life individual with strong opinions, but a grand sense of fun.  Her colorful conversation was scattered with outrageous observations, many of which dealt with her painful feet.  She wore old-fashioned “sensible” shoes, except on bridge days, when she put on her one pair of dress-up shoes, which she referred to as her “sitting shoes”.  She remained a farm girl who happened to live in the city. 

Upon arriving home from an afternoon of bridge, and before removing her hat, girdle or dress-up shoes, she quickly chopped up an onion and put it on the stove to work its odiferous magic.

Uncle Fred worked in San Francisco and had taken the ferry to and from Alameda each day for 40 years.    Arriving home at precisely 5:30 every day and entering by the front door, at approximately the same time as Aunt Helen was coming in by  the rear door, he was able to smell the delicious and intoxicating odor of onions cooking, and contentedly settled his portly little body into his large comfy chair to read the evening paper.

Misleading, yes, but comforting to a weary husband after a hard day’s work.  Today’s version might be a welcoming glass of wine rather than an onion, and possibly today’s husband might even chop the onion!

Simpicity at its best!

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

5 thoughts on “PUT THE ONION ON”

  1. ohhhh myyyy Kayti, does THIS HIt HOME.. Your gift of “story telling”is so
    thrilling to me ..I bury myself in the moment with a picture in my mind and
    remember it for a LONG TIME.. Such a happy moment..! thank you
    love,
    me

    Like

  2. My grandmother loved to have visitors and to keep them for dinner or supper. When they rose to leave, she would say:”Come on, you can’t leave now, the potatoes are boiling”. And it was true, she always had a pot of potatoes on the back burner, ready to eat. That usually clinched it.
    I’m sure she is still feeding potatoes to all the heaven’s population.

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  3. Thanks Christine. Aunt Helen was always waiting with a pan of soda biscuits for me to take upstairs for our dinner. One of her favorite sayings was M.I.K. (more in kitchen) if she saw we wanted more. If there was no more she said “F.H.B.” family hold back, so that gusts could have more. Little hostess tricks.

    Like

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