Catsup Soup

Catsup Soup

From Chicken Soup for the College Soul

Catsup Soup

My father learned how to make catsup soup in college. He didn’t major in culinary arts; he just learned which waitresses in which restaurants would give him a free cup of hot water and then look the other way while he stirred in their catsup to make his supper.

He was the youngest of nine children from a North Dakota prairie town. When he went to college, he found many people willing to teach him a lesson or two.

Some tried to teach him that he wasn’t a first-generation American whose family had given up everything to come to our country in search of freedom. No, he was just another one of those immigrants.

Others decided that his accent didn’t mean that he was probably bilingual; it just meant that he was ignorant.

Working five jobs to pay his way through college and sleeping in someone’s car when he couldn’t afford room and board didn’t make him determined; it only made him the poor son of a coal miner.

But my father never learned these lessons. He never learned them because he just didn’t hear them.

His inner voice was louder than any words they spoke.

His dreams were so real that to live them was worth the price he paid.

His vision transcended those who would try to keep him down.

My father learned the lessons for his lifetime.

The same lessons he passed on to his students when he had achieved what he set out to do.

To be a teacher.

And teach he did. In the classroom and on the basketball court. His children and then his grandchildren.

Executives, CEOs and convention rooms filled with hundreds of people.

He taught what he himself had lived.

That your dreams must come from your heart’s deepest desires. Only then will the barriers come down before you.

To know your heart, you must know yourself.

You are who you decide to be, not who other people decide for you to be.

You were created and intended for greatness.

Be noble. Stand on the higher ground.

He taught them to see their possibilities.

And he taught them to see the soup in a hot cup of water and a bottle of catsup.

Cynthia Hamond

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