“Oh no, Granny! I must call you and apologize for not doing so on your birthday, last Friday… at least I made your split pea soup…”

She would have been 116 that day — plus or minus as the story goes, October 15 was picked by a Census taker since Baby Janet lacked a birth certificate. And there are no phones to call, since she passed away in 2003.

I was thinking of her though, as the ham I baked Sunday had a lovely shank bone in it, which is a key element for her split pea soup. There is a story there, as usual, and I’ve told it before.

Another long ago memory came to me a few weeks ago, the taste of her thick split pea soup. As a kid (and a kid-like adult) I loved that soup. It was hearty, chunks of ham, and small dumplings she dropped in.

In 1987, that first year I had moved to Arizona, I bet I told her in a phone call or letter how much I missed her split pea soup. I imagine her laughing warmly. What I did not imagine at the time would be she would mail a box to me in Arizona. In that box was her old, well used soup pot, a bag of split peas, and an index card with her hand-written recipe.


I lost the card (but my sister came through with a digital version) and again, with apologies, Granny, I used the one from Betty Crocker. She would never be upset at that, an in fact, I can hear her lilting laugh.

Splitting Peas > Splitting Atoms
Splitting Peas > Splitting Atoms flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

And it was fabulously tasty. And it helped heal Cori’s flu!

I might sit down and cue up a bit of those audio stories I recorded with her (on a micro-cassette tape!) in 1994, that was when that photo sitting in the soup was taken.

Happy birthday (late) Granny, thanks for the love and the soup and being my unconventional grandmother.

Featured Image: Recording Grandma’s Stories flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license superimposed on 2021/365/291 Yum! Split Pea Soup and a Grandmother of a Story flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. Yum! I made some split pea soup a few weeks ago. Always a favorite! I couldn’t find a ham bone so I used chopped ham. I always add a splash of sherry when serving.

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