Gut Rumbles
 

June 11, 2006

manners

When I was a child, I wasn't expected to say "yessir!" or "yes, ma'am" to my mama and daddy. I was expected to say it to other adults, but home was different.

We never said grace at the table before a meal.

Mama was very religious, but Daddy wasn't, and he worked shiftwork for a lot of his life. Bejus! If my brother or I EVER woke him up when he was working midnight shifts and sleeping during the day, we could DEPEND on a rude visit from Mr. Belt and that wasn't any fun at all. You paid for that mistake because you had been told better.

I think back, since both of my parents are dead now, and I remember seeing my father come home from work in the morning, eat a plate of bacon and eggs, go to sleep and arise at about 7:00 in the evening to eat ANOTHER plate of bacon and eggs before he went back to work. He liked breakfast, even late at night.

Mama loved him, and I did, too. But when he slept after working a midnight shift, Gawd help you if you woke him up. THAT was a really bad no-no.

The most miserable week of my life came when I was 10 years old and Mama went into the hospital for a hysterectomy. I didn't know what the hell that was... and when I asked Daddy about it, he started talking about wimmen's internals and samouri swords and I became all confused. It sounded spooky as all get-out to me. I was worried that Mama might DIE!!!

She didn't. But my brother and I almost did from eating a week of Daddy's cooking.

That man was a fine person... about the very best I've ever met in this world...but he couldn't boil water right on a stove. HIS idea of a gourmet meal was chicken a la king on burnt toast. Or tomato soup and crackers. Or TV dinners still half-frozen because he never put them in the oven long enough.

He couldn't make a decent peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

He fed that crap to me and my brother and tolerated no bitchin' about it. Shut up and eat, or go to bed. Pick one option.

I always loved my mama, but I REALLY wanted to hug and kiss her when she came back home from the hospital. Bejus! I tasted REAL FOOD again, and it was good. Biscuits! Gravy! Home fries!!! Pork roast! Fried chicken! Y'know... HOME COOKIN'!!! Just damn!!!

My daddy was a good carpenter, a jackleg electrician, a decent brick-layer and he could handle explosives. But he couldn't cook for shit. It's a damn good thing that mama was fairly healthy for most of her life, or my brother and I would have starved to death. My daddy could build model ships from 1,000 tiny parts in a box, but he never learned to boil an egg in his life.

Maybe that's why I like to cook today. It's survival instinct.

Comments

Funny, I remember my daddy doing most of the cooking. Mom usually left for work around 4-4:30 and Daddy got home around that time most days, so he cooked a lot. He loves to cook and still loves to putter in the kitchen (he cooked for Elisson today!!). Mom did all the baking, though. I loved it when mom made something sweet for us.
Daddy just cooked "meals" and they were delicious!

Posted by: Lisa on June 11, 2006 06:49 PM

My husband hates brussell sprouts with a passion. Not only because they are just plain gross.
One time his mom was bleaching out a pot on the stove. I guess it had a ring around it from what I don't know. Any way, she put a small amount of bleach in the water and just left it there. Dad was in charge of dinner that night and saw the pot of water on the stove, so he threw some brussell sprouts in there and cooked them up.
He would not believe my husband, his brother OR their cousin when they said that the brussell sprouts tasted funny.

Posted by: Maeve on June 11, 2006 07:03 PM

Ha! That a good story, Robbie. In my case I was the next to the last of 5, and my momma cooked like the sargeant in Beetle Bailey. Tough stuff. Consider yourself lucky, my friend.

Posted by: Velociman on June 11, 2006 08:07 PM

Hehehe, when my mom was out of commision, my dad would bring home MREs for us to eat. We actually thought they were a treat. Once he even found some old K-rations in the attic. Thankfully he didn't make us eat those, but he did let us smoke those STALE cigarettes. I guarantee I didn't smoke for at least another 10 years.

Posted by: Steph on June 11, 2006 11:47 PM

I started cooking dinner for my family at about the age of nine out of self-defense. My mother was probably the world's worst cook, although she did bake like a pro.

My siblings and I can hold forth at great length on chicken grease soup.....

Posted by: Libby on June 12, 2006 07:20 AM
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