Listen to Jim:
or read on…
Found this in my five-year-old Red Clay Diary. This is the way it was back then:
DAGWOOD FIXES BREAKFAST
First things first is what gets me through the morning ritual of preparing breakfast on Sunday morning. Breakfast usually comes late, since this is my sleeping-in day. Never been good at sleeping in, since my brain is always coming up with ideas and projects and guilts that I should be up and around and taking care of.
Anyhow, first things first. I descend the stairs to the hundred-year-old kitchen and begin the ritual–I should say, the ritual with variations, since it is boring, just doing things the same way all the time.
I pull clean coffeemaker parts out of the dishwasher and assemble them, making sure I dip caffeinated coffee into the little metal cup. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I am married to a world-class coffee drinker, and I’ve learned over a thirty-year period that they cannot be fooled. She will know whether I’ve filled that little metal cup with high-test or decaffeinated. My parents drink coffee, but we kids don’t. That’s because we really believe her when she tells us kids that drinking coffee will stunt our growth. The evidence is unarguable…Mother is right. I never achieve the height of a basketball player. Must have smelled too much of her coffee.
Once the brew is brewing and the milk is microwaving, I trot out to the yard to retrieve two newspapers, each hidden in creative places in bushes or behind bricks or in the street. The New York Times paper delivery-person throws one way, the Birmingham News deliveryperson throws another way, and they get creative at times.
Once I strip the papers of their wet plastic covers and ouchy rubber bands, I’m ready to pour the coffee and deliver the papers upstairs to my wife, who is always grateful for the effort.
Then, it’s back downstairs to prepare breakfast…excuse me, to fix breakfast.
I pull out my favorite frying pan, pull a couple of jumbo eggs from the refrigerator (excuse me…ice box), crack the first one open with two hands, then, bored already, try to crack the second one with one hand, like I’ve seen it done in the movies by macho actors. The yolk leaps into the air, splattering itself half on the counter and half into the sink, at which point I thank my lucky stars that no-one is watching. I slide another egg out of the ice box and do it right this time, beating both eggs with a metal whisk thing. I pull forth a spatula…excuse me, the (Chinese-translated) label says it’s a NYLON COOKING TURNER. Now I see it in a new way. By the way, it is “ideal for non-stick surface.” If the surface is truly non-stick, why would I need a spatula, er, NYLON COOKING TURNER?
Back when I am a kid, my job each evening is to clear off the dining table after everybody has eaten. I wait till Mother is in the kitchen, Daddy is reading the paper, and siblings Barbara and Ronny are doing their specific tasks (Ronny dries as Barbara washes), then I try to accomplish something my hero, Dagwood Bumstead, does so well. I try to clear the table in one trip. This requires stacking the dishes flat, placing aluminum utensils on top of the stack. With plates in one hand, I pile the serving dishes on the arm leading to the plate hand, place napkins and other detritus atop the plates, pick up five glasses in the other hand by sticking one finger in each glass and squeezing, and lifting anything else it is possible to lift in the crook of my elbow and under my arm. Sometimes, it actually works! A couple of times, everything comes crashing down, along with my sense of accomplishment. I now know why Mother started purchasing Melmac and other unbreakable dishes–if she is to have her kids do their chores, she’ll have to make it as safe and inexpensive as possible, since taking over all the chores herself is not an option, what with a new kid on the way.
While bacon is microwaving itself, I am heating up the skillet on the gas stove. Back when I am young, Mother’s gas stove has no pilot light–we have to strike a large wooden match and hold it to the gas burner until WHOOSH the fire appears. Then, I plop some butter–or what appears to be something that looks and smells like butter–into the heating pan. When I am young, our butter is oleomargarine that comes white and pasty in a sealed plastic bag with a red cherry-like dye in the middle. To make it look like butter, the bag has to be massaged till the dye spreads throughout, yellowing up the contents, as if this will fool us into thinking this is cow butter.
I drop some cheese bits into the cooking eggs and pull marmalade out of the ice box to spread on toast. When I am young, we can afford no toaster, so the sliced bread (light bread to you) has to be placed inside the oven and checked constantly till browned. And the marmalade or jelly always comes in glasses that can be used later.
Soon, some semblance of breakfast is ready. Since this is Sunday, I take care to select eating utensils that are not scarred by traumatic encounters with the garbage disposal, and I take the plate up to a beaming wife, who cooks 98 percent of our other meals, and my good deed is done for the day. Then, because nobody is looking–I’m downstairs and she is upstairs–I get to try for Dagwood’s record again. The kitchen is cleaned in one swell foop. Blondie will never know!
Now, if only I could learn to take sofa naps like Dagwood. Unfortunately, my Mother didn’t believe in naps, and neither do I. There are so many other records left to break–such as making the largest Dagwood sandwich possible, or avoiding collisions with the letter carrier. I have achieved at least one Dagwood aspiration. I no longer have dictatorial bosses.
Now, if I can only find Dagwood a good job
© 2013 A.D. by Jim Reed