Dad’s Incredible, Inedible Eggs
Now that I have two school-age children, I understand the difficulty of getting boys out of bed for school. Sometimes I have to physically lift them, placing their feet on the floor, with a lively encouragement to wake up that my wife calls “yelling.”
This is essentially my father’s revenge on me for similar, if not worse, behavior. But at least my boys don’t have to look forward to the breakfast my dad had waiting for me, which was enough to make any 12-year old pull the covers over his head.
Dad used to scramble eggs and then put them on a hot plate to await what I suppose he hoped would be our eager tucking into them. Unfortunately, by the time I got downstairs, the hot plate had not only kept the eggs warm, it had reduced them to a hardened mass of congealed rubber. A really hot mass of congealed rubber.
Now, my father wasn’t, and isn’t, what you’d call a cook, outside of an acknowledged barbeque prowess. But the poor man took pride in his terrible eggs and couldn’t understand why we ate the lumpy mass so slowly. In part, we were trying not to burn the roofs of our mouths.
Some might point out that if I got out of bed when my father first awakened me the eggs would have been fine, maybe even fluffy and delicious. In fact, Dad did point this out. So did Mom, when she came downstairs.
Dad used to give Mom a new robe every Christmas, and she would wear it on winter mornings. Frankly, they weren’t the most stylish or attractive robes in the world — my dad picked them out and it was the ’70s, a combination that might be considered the perfect storm of fashion disaster — but they were functional. They reached right down to the floor, and could in fact be used to sweep the floor, if you wanted, like an early Swiffer.
Maybe these annual warm robes were my dad’s way of saying he was sorry for moving to Buffalo from Honolulu, where they began their marriage in 1956 when Dad was in the Navy. It was, I think, a classic bait and switch. I can only imagine the incredulous look on my poor mother’s face opening yet another robe on Christmas morning: “Gee, this one’s a lovely burnt orange, thanks dear.”
Dad might have been inspired by the color of our shag carpeting that year. I guess you could say that in her own unique, unfortunately colored way, Mom suffered in the mornings just like us kids. At the hands of my well-meaning father.
Our poodle suffered as well. Dad would let Oscar outside and Oscar would return so completely covered with little balls of snow attached to his fur that they would weigh his little body down and he’d collapse onto the linoleum floor until they melted.
Once I tried to slip him some of Dad’s scrambled eggs as he lay there. Oscar wouldn’t have anything to do with them, either.