How can a 10 year old know the complexities of marinating a steak in Dad’s secret recipe or how long to grill the steak to seal in the juices? How can a 10 year old know the trick to making a roast tender or what oven settings turn those cabbages, carrots, and potato chunks flavored in meat juices into a savory, Sunday lunch?
Sunday was his day to be the chef master. Maybe it was his special tradition, his way of using his hands to feed us, to make us happy, to create an environment of family.
Dad is in the kitchen. Everyone stand back. Set the table. Wake up the ice machine. (I can hear the sound.) Pour the water. Have a seat. It’s almost ready. I can see the sun streaming between the curtains (blue and white I think) onto the kitchen floor. Linoleum Squares.
One lazy daughter is perhaps collapsed on the couch waiting for lunch. Maybe it was me. Dad always kept his rambunctious daughters from cannon balling the furniture. One oldest daughter had a bad habit. 🙂 The corner wall boasted a hole from such a dive onto the easy chair.
I hear the sound of a machine gun pop pop popping through the kitchen wall. Oh no, it’s just another sister plummeting down the basement steps at lightning speeds.
Mom has her white apron on. The middle sister has a blanket and a book.
Little brother, at four, is singing a song about a worm. Dad rubs his dark hair affectionately. “Fuzzy Wuzzy Dadda Boy.”
It’s ready to eat now. The steam is rising from the platters on the wooden table.
Thanks is sung. I can hear the man voice. Mom’s alto. The young daughter voices. The childish attempt at song with a grin.
Lunch is served.
The steak was incredible. I remember biting into it and the juicy flavors exploding in my mouth. It was hard to stop eating when I was full.
Of course, I never asked how he did it or what the ingredients were. What 10 year old thinks to jot down recipe instructions in a fuzzy, pink, lock and key journal for the days when she will have her own family? My reality was expected to last forever, although I was dying to grow up and marry a charming man who had shiny, white teeth and a line of poetry ready on his lips at all times.
Dad will always be around to make steak.
I never asked how he did it.
The Wednesday night that he had to work late, Dad had a load of steaks in the car to bring home to his family. We were on the way home from church when he called my mom. “I’m on my way home.” I went to bed without a care in the world.
In the night, the light came on like a lightening bolt. Sister, who doesn’t cry in front of me, was crying.
I didn’t cry. Middle sister and I sat up. I pulled on some clothes in shock.
It’s always someone else.
Mom and Big Sister were out in the night looking.
That night was diversely traumatic for each one. It’s somewhat a blur, but it was real. It is real.
I wish he was here today. I wish I could ask him for his secret recipes. Cooking is not my natural skill, but I get by ok. I’ve been wanting to make that roast and veggies, juicy with meat favor like he did. I want to taste it again. I want my husband to taste it. Somehow, I know it won’t taste exactly the same. But that’s ok.
I want my husband to meet Dad. I think they would get along. Both like food a lot. 🙂 Mine just lost 50 lbs so the desert might not be the best idea, but I’m sure we could all agree on a juicy, marinated steak.
I am so thankful for the men God put in my life.
I am thankful for each brother in law that joined our family following my dad’s death and the one still to come. I’m thankful for the man my little brother is becoming. He hit 13 this year.
I am thankful for the two, baby man nephews I have. They are charmers.
There is always something to be thankful for. There’s a time for grieving, but joy comes in the morning.
This year, I am excited to spend our Christmas with my family. There are three delightful grand-baby additions Dad would love and my mom dotes on consistently. She is a radiant grandmother and a beautiful woman. She’s a testament of God’s goodness. We all are. Our different journeys are all entwined with the same fibers: grace.