Eustis and How to Save an Onion: A Georgia Chance Encounter

A visit to Georgia to meet our new Grand-Dog has not been a disappointment in any way. Abby is a Boxer rescue who came with an array of issues from her past. She is settling in nicely and winning that place in everyone’s heart formerly occupied by her predecessor, Cayo. One of life’s great ironies is that the excitement of bringing a new dog into our lives is often tempered with the sadness of the missing the one we lost. But something in us dog lovers calls us to fill that empty space once again, even knowing that we will one day say good-bye all too soon. The fact that we bring another dog home despite the reality of their too short lives is perfect proof that the pros of being in right relationship with another being outweighs the cons!

Abby is up to the challenge of making her own mark. She is busy climbing up into empty laps and healing empty hearts with her soft intense gaze. The new dog is the balm that cures the grief and they seems to know it. Glad you are here and part of our family velvet Abby!

While in Georgia, Arnie and I stopped at one of the many roadside stands selling veggies and peaches. It’s a great time of year in Georgia since the Vidalia onions are in season. It’s a short season, so we try to enjoy the moment and use them in as many recipes as possible. On this day, I asked the owner of the produce stand if he had any loose onions since the bag was large and more than I could use up quickly. I explained that we are traveling and can only handle smaller amounts of produce at a time. The owner of the stand, being an affable kind of guy, explained to me that I should really get the whole bag and he would explain to me why. Okay, “I’m game! Tell me why”, I responded.

“Well, because I’m going to tell you how to keep them. I’ll bet you don’t know.” he said, sporting a huge toothless grin. I now knew I was in for one of those precious Chance Encounters that are right there every day if we only recognize them. This gentleman looked to be a hundred years old and I couldn’t wait to unfold this conversation with him.

Eustis reached out his hand and introduced himself. He looked like a black Sharpei. You know, one of those wrinkled dogs. He must have spent a lot of hours in the Videlia fields under the Georgia sun to earn those stripes!  He told me that he knows how to keep Videlia onions for months past the annual seasons’ end and that he would gladly share the secret with me so that I could buy a whole bag. Eustis is very short, a little bent over and looks like he carries the wisdom of the world in his over-sized overall pockets. He had that farmers way about him that characterizes those who are in tune with what the earth gives and how to use it well. He asked, “Do you cook ’em or eat “em raw?” I shared that we often cut them up in salads or made French Onion soup since they are so sweet. He cocked a bushy gray eyebrow, paused and said, “I juss bites ’em like an apple.” A few words and Julia Child was put in her proper place. His eyes sparkled and his face crinkled even more. He was laughing at me about the onion soup.

Here’s what y’all do.” His instructions began in a slow sweet Georgia drawl. “You see those fancy pants y’all got on? You take and cut one leg off real high. Y’all don’t need to be wearing those hot things in this weather no how.”  Evidently, Eustis has never ridden with Arnie in a truck on a long trip with the AC set to Frigid. Thus the reason for long fancy pants on a hot Georgia day. “After you cut that leg off, you get one of those  plastic  tie offs and you tie off the bottom of the leg. Then you drop in an onion. Then you make another tie off and you drop in another onion.. Then you tie it off again, take another onion and you drop that one in.  Just keep doing’ that over and over. It keeps them from gassing off each other. That what makes them turn bad. Like too many people in too small a space. They’s don’t like being crowded. “Understand now, Missy? Y’all want one bag or two?”

I took a whole bag and scuttled to the car before I lost a pant leg. With full intentions of putting Eustis’ folksy advice to use when I got home, I relayed the instructions to Arnie in the car. We are home now, the onions are nearly gone with no need to store them. What I realized is, we really can eat a whole bag of Videlias and keep the fancy pants too. For a moment I was tempted to bite one like an apple. Instead, we had a very nice onion soup with a crouton and cheese instead.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Chance Encounter with a wise man on the side of the road who was willing to share a bit of rural wisdom with me. Thanks, Eustis live long and prosper.

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