Wild Goose on the Fly Real? Imagined? A tantalizing mix?
With a push from my shoulder the door popped opened. As expected the room smelled old, really old, make that really really old. Brown water marks stained the ceiling. Patterns of unidentified discolorations splotched the carpet. I made a mental note to always wear my slippers. However there was a bed. Score one! There was bathroom, which was so small it made me feel fat. But it did have a shower. Score two. I didn’t press my luck to score three by checking if there was also hot water.
I flipped back the bedspread. Right there in front of my wondering eyes was a newish blanket and crisp white sheets. Instantly I morphed from a Dallas cheerleader to a gleeful Goldilocks who just discovered the perfect bed in the cottage of the Three Bears. Mimicking the story I laid down. I was so sleepy. Perhaps Goldilocks had imbibed three bears, no I mean three beers in an hour. Oh right, her downfall was three bowls of porridge. Then the curtain came down and a two hour intermission began.
I woke up refreshed. Too bad beer and beer bellies were so closely associated, because beer was an astonishing sleep aid. I propped up my pillows and read a book until twilight. Two forces drove me out of the room. One, I was hungry. Two, I realized the odor in the room now smelled normal—not good.
I stepped outside and inhaled the Montana air, which was so pure and crisp I could feel it dancing on the taste buds of my tongue.
“So you must be ready for my soup,” said a disembodied woman’s voice with a slight accent.
Lumina was sitting on the steps of her caravan, her elbows resting on her knees. Her eyes glowed in the purple of the darkening sky, as she sipped a drink and stared at me without blinking. My inner radar had a National Geographic flashback, as I pictured a lioness sitting and waiting to leap on passing prey. Hold up. Time to ring the bell on the trolley and get off. This woman is not a lion. How many lions drink from a cup. Plus people’s eyes don’t glow in the dark. No more beer for you—EVER. On the other hand why could I clearly discern her eyes were an eerie shade of silver? I made a management decision not to answer that query, because honestly I didn’t want to know the answer.
“Thanks,” I said. ” But I think I will just walk up town and grab something there.”
After I had walked about six feet, she said, ” You won’t find any place open except the Second Home Bar. The local restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch. If you walk to the gas station about a mile and half down the road, you’ll find soda and chips there.”
I stopped and turned around. Revisiting the bar wasn’t an option. Walking in the dark wasn’t an appealing option either.
The gypsy woman rose from the steps and opened the door to her caravan, “Come, the soup is ready. When the Universe illuminates a path, you must learn to trust enough to follow it. You are taking too long to learn this lesson. That is why our paths are crossing here in this propitious place. Hurry the moon will be rising soon.”
Conflicted by reluctance, overwhelmed by curiosity in addition to feeling slightly affronted being labeled a slow learner, I walked up the steps.
The interior of the caravan was alive with color and as neatly compacted as any expensive yacht interior. Several cleverly placed candles softly lit the tiny kitchen area and the table.
Intoxicating smells wafted up from a black cast iron pot sitting on a burner. Still without smiling Lumina ladled soup with meatballs into two bowls and sliced two thick pieces of bread with a wicked looking knife. Opening the cupboard she grabbed a bottle of wine and two pottery wine goblets.
“No wine for me,” I said. ‘Just water, if you have any. I’ve had my share of alcohol today.”
“No you must drink the wine. It is part of the catalyst, like this soup which is a special recipe from Romania.” she said as she filled both goblets with red wine.
Closing her eyes Lumina covered her heart with both hands, while muttering words so quietly I couldn’t understand them. Then still speaking softly she waved her hands over the food several times. Abruptly her eyes snapped open and she sat down.
Okay maybe I am dealing with a nutcase here. Maybe coming in here wasn’t the wisest choice. Buy hey I will just humor her. Besides I am starving. I tore off a chunk of bread, took a sip of wine and ate spoonful of soup. It tasted amazing.
When I looked across the table, Lumina’s piercing silver eyes were glittering as they watched me. Silently she dipped her spoon into the soup.
To be continued. The Romanian Meatball soup recipe that follows is courtesy of a mighty fine cook—-Jo at www.jocooks.com