Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Things that are Things 2020

Dill Pickle Soup

Dill Pickle Soup

I called a friend the other night to check up on her – she’s in her 80s and is staying inside where it’s safe. She has an excellent support circle in her community and has all she needs. Including her dinner that evening – homemade dill pickle soup.

“Dill pickle soup is a thing?” I asked her.

“It’s a delicious thing,” she said.

I’ll take her word for it. And add dill pickles to the grocery list. Not essential, though, so it may be a while before I test the recipe.



A crisis brings out the worst in people. It also brings out the best. I learned about “caremongering” this week, a new social media trend started here in Canada.

The Washington Post reported:

Caremongering is cast as the antithesis in name and spirit to fearmongering. Instead of singing doomsday dirges, caremongers are coming together to form networks to support their communities, including people who are stuck at home, financially precarious or otherwise in distress. Groups have sprung up across the country, many organizing through social media platforms. They vary in form and size, from a handful of members to thousands. Some distribute food and supplies while others coordinate and run errands for those unable to do them. And some serve as a platform to organize volunteers.

Doing Nothing is Doing Something

My days have a surreal quality to them. I hear the news, I read the stories, and I feel the anxiety rising. I understand the panic and the alarm. I feel compelled to answer the call, to rise to the occasion, to fix it, to DO SOMETHING!

My stepson and his wife are both essential service workers – he’s an RPN in a long term care facility and she works at Shoppers – both are struggling – he from overwork, under-resourced, and ridiculous policies that must be scrapped (i.e. documentation for the sake of funding requirements) and she has constantly been on the receiving end of abusive behaviour from anxious and panicked customers.

Yet when I look around me, from my perch on the couch or at the keyboard, I see that my world is exactly the same as before. I see the hills in the distance, the birds at the feeder, the cats curled at my feet. What’s to be alarmed about?


And nothing.

Doing nothing is the best thing I can do, it seems. As the memes suggest, as an introvert, I’ve been preparing for this my entire life.


Early spring scene in Coleman Township. Be grateful, be calm, and remember to breathe.


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46 replies

  1. I can do nothing with the best of them! Thank you for recognizing that we introverts are doing what needs to be done to keep people safe. I caremonger while not leaving my house. In times of distress and in good times, too.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Not sure about dill pickle soup, to be honest, but I’ll try to keep an open mind. Stay safe Maggie. Thank your step son and his wife for what they are doing. That anyone, no matter how scared they are, would treat your step daughter in law badly is outrageous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah… when I read the recipes, I see that the soup is basically a heaty, chunky potato soup, garnished with pickle. Now, I like hearty potato soup, and I like dill pickle… but together? Warm? mmm, maybe no.

      Thank you for acknowledging my family’s efforts in the face of the crisis. I haven’t witnessed those sorts of outrageous behaviours – yet.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You can keep writing and touching the hearts and minds of your readers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, m’dear. The writing is a distraction for me, and it’s a normal pastime. Sticking with routine is important, I think. But sometimes I wonder if writing about the shenanigans of con artists from over 100 years ago isn’t just a wee bit tone-deaf, you know?

      Be well!


  4. I hear that from so many people at the front lines – that customers are being rude and mean. I wish someone would do that in my presence so I could speak up and give the complainer an attitude adjustment on the spot. I know everybody is on edge, but that doesn’t give us carte blanche to take it out on others. How much better everyone would feel if we overdid the kindness thing instead! I know it makes me feel better to have positive interchanges with the (very) few I interact with these days, on my infrequent grocery shops.


    Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t have what it takes to confront anyone – I mean, I like to imagine that I could diffuse the situation by speaking softly and with kind words, but if “push came to shove” so to speak, I think I’d end up on the floor in a quivering mess – figuratively speaking, if not literally!

      The best we can do, I think, is as you suggest – dole out the kindness on our own terms and pray that it helps.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. The people who abuse retail workers should be made to clean the parking lots of all the carelessly discarded gloves.

    I’ve been making a point of thanking every retail worker I come into contact with. I’d thank the medical folks too, but I’ve been lucky enough not to need their care.

    Stay safe, Maggie!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this new movement – Caremongering. I’ve never heard of it before now, but I love the concept and I hope it grows and strengthens … even if people only care enough to STAY ISOLATED as we’re being asked to do.

    I cannot think about health care workers right now without ending up in tears. It takes a special kind of person to begin with to go into the field, but what they are dealing with right now fills me with terror – and they face it down every single day.

    I’m horrified at what is happening right now in long term care facilities and I hope your stepson remains well – both physically and mentally 💕😢

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I, too, have been thanking everyone who is working. It must be scary for them but we so need them. If any of them — truckers, sanitation works, grocery folks, all the medical folks at all levels — stop working we will all be in a different spot.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. There’s so much to say, and also nothing — except, “Stay well, stay well, stay well.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It is a blessing to feel useful by cracking open a cold beer and a good novel. Ah, but life can be so cruel and so kind at the same time. Hope all stays well for you and yours – and everyone else for that matter too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. These people who feel the need to berate those trying to help….what in the heck is their problem??!! I’ve always been a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ kinda gal, but now even more so because I worry about those on the front lines. I had my last chemo treatment Wednesday and God bless those nurses taking care of us all. We all gave virtual hugs cause they so deserve it. Take care, Maggie. No need to bring me any Dill Pickle Soup, though…. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! I just don’t get it. I’ve always marvelled at the TV shows and movies featuring New York life and the rudeness that was considered standard everyday behaviour. The kind of pushback that comes from living so tightly packed, I guess… but I couldn’t fathom being on the receiving end of that, much less feeling compelled to act like that. Please and thank you, all the way for this Sunday School grad.

      You be well.

      And yes, hold the soup.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. My life has changed little because I am quite happy staying home alone to follow my whims. Being told I must, dies stir up a few rebellious feelings, but they don’t win. I understand people’s frustrations erupting all over an innocent service person, but it is so unfair.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve heard about this dill pickle soup thing before….so I printed the recipe, but like you, it will be awhile before I go back to the store. Still…I think I’ll try it someday. And doing nothing is absolutely a thing! When we were kids we made sure dad never saw us doing nothing, because if he asked us what we were doing and we said ‘nothing’ he’d have something, something we didn’t want to do, for us to do. These days, as an adult I still feel guilty doing nothing…but in the current situation I see that I have honed the skill and am very good at doing nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love dill pickles but soup? Oh boy – so sorry to hear about your step son and daughter. I hope they can stay strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I heard the President of the Canadian Medical Association interviewed on CBC last night saying (paraphrasing here) “We wouldn’t send firefighters to battle a fire without protective gear so why is it okay to expect medical personnel to work without it?” I hope your family stays safe, Maggie. The LTC homes lack of resources is showing in the most extreme way. When we come out of this situation, I hope those in positions to make change, properly fund and care for the caregivers, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. As I sat in my car in the grocery store’s parking lot waiting for my husband to shop, I called out to multiple store employees as they walked by to thank them. All smiled, some seemed rather startled… I wish receiving heartfelt thanks was a common occurrence for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. No dill pickles for me, in soup or any other way! Caremongerimg – great concept. Jerks who hassle retail employees – Boo Hiss!!!

    I’m glad you’re okay with doing nothing. I’m on that bandwagon. Not that I wouldn’t help out if asked. I just don’t know what I could do in this situation. I’ve made donations, but that’s about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are on the same page for all three “things” it seems!

      The donations solution seems to be the answer for many agencies. For example, facemasks – the provincial health board suggests that a better use of resources is contributions to the food banks.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Your stepson and his wife deserve medals, as do all workers right now in service occupations. I get that people are stressed, but for G-d sakes, don’t take it out on the ones who are actually braving everything by coming into work for our benefit! I wish them both well. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I love the idea of Caremongering. What a great idea. Staying put is the sensible thing to do. Kudos to your stepson and his wife. I hope things get better quickly for all our sakes.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Caremongering sounds lovely. I suppose I am quite good at staying home, having done it so long.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. What a wonderful photo of snow. We barely got any here in Wales this winter.

    Sadly, staying home and not doing much is what’s safest at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

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