Chapter 10: Tomatoes, Sunflowers and Roses
“My Father’s Greatest Gift: Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”
Lori found this writing John had done about his mother-in-law
Margaret Stolarcyk’s halupki the day after my Master had passed.
I personally do not care for cabbage, but John just loved it – please
The Saga of the Last Halupki
You came to me in a big red bowl, thanks to
Grandma Marge – you and 25 or 30 little piglets
in your kraut and sauce. I could have devoured the
whole bowl at one sitting.
But no – I decided to portion them out over
three days – sounds reasonable to me. Three here,
four there, one snack, two snacks – well, you get the
Finally, there was but one – and a perfect one at
that. The art and love that went into making you was
quite evident. The corners of the cabbage leaf neatly
tucked to hold every morsel intact. There you lay in
that big red bowl, nestled in a bed of kraut and sauce
topped by a strip of bacon – a little lovely – maybe. A
sight to behold – yes.
And as I opened and closed that refrigerator
door my mouth would water in anticipation of eating
that last tasty treat. But no – I would save you for
later – prolong the agony.
Then finally – it’s time to end this torment and
enjoy this last treat. Nuke for a few second – just
enough to warm it through. Then delicately slice and
savor each bite – right. Wrong – the savage in me
took over and I attacked this last morsel like a pack
As quiet time took over and I wiped the corner
of my mouth with a napkin, I mumbled under my
Rest in peace you little bastard – you will
torment me no more.
So, what do you think about the symbolism in his writing?
It personally speaks to me about his life in a “halupki” shell, if you
will. Intelligent, handsome, athletic and witty, with a beautiful wife
and family, yet he had that one halupki in the batch which tempted
and tormented him during his entire adult life. The apostle Paul
speaks often about this weak nature and thorn in our side. He goes on
to say that it is only through our weakness that we are made strong
because we are to draw closer to God and He will draw closer to us. I
witnessed that moment of peaceful surrender and acceptance of John
that summer while he watched the sunset. All I can say is thanks be
to God for giving me such a wonderful Master and for God’s grace
to bring peace to John’s tormented soul.