Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday dinner at Mom's house.

The weekend was hot and sweaty, filled with lots of work in the yard that Denise and I have been hackin' at for a while. Usually I try to fill the weekends with fun in order to avoid this sort of toil. But now that we're not otherwise embroiled (there's been no extra money for Gun shows and such lately), I have no excuse but to get to work and try to make the place look decent.

Sure enough, little bit at a time, we've been clearin' the weeds in the back and side and draggin' brush to the field across the street for the city to haul away. Little by little, between breaks for cold water and a rest on the swing, we've been getting stuff done. As the yard has begun to take shape we've been goin' to Lowe's and buyin' flowers and bushes to plant here and there.

That's what we did Saturday afternoon. As the heat index reached over 100 we were busy planting bushes and weeding the garden down by the street. Denise and I took turns mowing the side and back, and then Denise decided to go ahead and mow the next door neighbors front yard. My neighbor lady is old, and her husband, who used to take care of the yard, has been in a nursing home for about a year. So their yard is looking a lot like mine. After Denise mowed it I spread some top soil out on a few bald spits and spent some time watering it all by hand.

Then, happy in the progress we've made, we showered and headed to a party! Yep, a party. A friend of Denise's from before she met me was having a shindig at his house. As parties go, it's pretty tame. About six or eight middle aged folks sitting around and drinking, laughing as they tell stories about what it was like to grow up in Killeen. The stories they tell make me think that the life around here today is quite tame compared to the life they led in the 60s and 70s, when the town was growing fast.

I really don't relate to any of those stories and don't have much to contribute, so I usually don't find myself included in much of it. It's an old story. I find myself eventually retreating to the couch, playing with the cat or watching TV while the "grownups" enjoy themselves. Maybe it was the heat, or the fact that I'd been so worn out by the time we got there, but I just didn't have any energy to stand there on the margin and pretend to give a shit about what they were going on about. If the heat index hadn't been still hovering around 100 I'd have been out on their porch smoking a cigar and drinking a beer. That's my usual escape.

Anyway, Sunday was a day to sleep in. Denise and I rolled out of the sack at about 11AM and then headed back out into the yard to get some more stuff done. By 2PM it was time to shower and head over to Temple. Mom had begged off her dinner Friday night and told me that she was planning to fry some chicken on Sunday. So you can probably guess how things went down.

By the time we got there just after 3PM, the last batch of chicken had been lifted out of the grease to cool and mom was workin' on the stuffed potatoes.

You can see all the fixin's there in this shot. She mashes the inside of the potato and mixes it with butter, sour cream and cheese. She crams the mashed potatoes into the potato shell, covers it with more cheese and puts it back in to oven to melt together.

While she's doing all that I'm wandering around, checking out her garden. It leaves me feeling how far I've got to go before mine looks anything like hers.

I also find one of the house cats to mess with. This is one of my sisters kitties. You can see from the look in her eyes that she was happy to see me.

Of course, that's not all I was doing. Mom recently bought herself a new bed. It's one of those space age foam things that's really soft on her joints. The delivery men put the new bed together for her and took her old bed upstairs for my sister to sleep on, but the twin bunk-beds were just stacked in the other upstairs bedroom (sis has been sleepin' on one of them). So, while Mom worked on the taters and Denise tossed the salad and made the drinks, I went upstairs and put the bunk-beds together.

I slept on those things myself when I was in high school. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've had to take them down and put them back together again. I do have one fond memory of a buddy of mine spending the night once, about half way through high school. He "slept" in one bed across the room, with one Playboy, and I "slept" in the other, and we both tried diligently to pull our way through puberty. I think that may well be about the gayest thing I ever did, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anyway, the beds came together (get your mind out of the gutter) easily, so soon I was back to messing with the cats and waiting on the food.

Denise mixed the salad that mom had put together before we arrived.

Mom has her own recipe for dressing (there in the little bowl). Denise mixed it into the salad as we waited for the taters to come back out of the oven.

Meanwhile, Denise mixed the drinks. Mom's blender mixes one hell of a Margarita or Daiquiri.

This time it was Strawberry Daiquiris. After Denise and I got Mom to begin to enjoy this sort of thing again, not long after Daddy died, Mom tried to surprise us with some drinks. We came over one day after taking her out to eat. Thing is, she couldn't quite remember the recipe. Was it a half a can of Rum or a whole can? So the first batch of daiquiris she made were stout as hell. We all had a good laugh over it.

Pretty soon the stuffed taters were done and coming out of the oven, and then the feast began.

That's my plate, with three big pieces of boneless dark meat, a stuffed tater and just a hint of salad. Oh, and an excellent adult beverage to finish it off. The food was all perfect. The chicken came out just right... not greasy at all, over cooked or under cooked. I tell ya, mom's got it down pat.

What's better, there was enough left over that I could have fried chicken for breakfast this morning, and there's still enough for Denise and I to have it again for dinner tonight, and split a stuffed tater too.

While we were there, mom told us about the plans she has for Fathers Day. We're all gonna gather at her house and go out to see daddy. We're gonna take some new plastic flowers out there to make sure he's got fresh looking stuff to decorate his plot, and then we're all gonna come back to her place for more fried chicken and home made peach ice cream! Mmmmmm, that stuff is goooood! It's perfect. Daddy would have loved it. I'm sure he'll be watching and wishing he could have some. I'll have to have a little extra, just for him.

Well, that's the weekend. I'm back in the library at San Saba, having had my Monday ritual... Jalapeno sourdough bread bacon cheese burger, fries and a diet Dr. Pepper. The rest of this week looks like it's gonna be hot and sweaty. There's more yard work to do. Y'all take care, and we'll run it all down again in a few. Cheers!


Suldog said...

Well, hell, that's just a lovely weekend. Good food, good folks (or, if you're not interested in the conversation, good beer and a cigar), cats to mess with, nice things to look at. That's called being blessed, my friend!

Grandpa-Old Soldier said...

Everytime I read your blog, I want food. I do get some good cooking ideas though.

Mushy said...

Everything was going good until I ran over the cat...phewffft!

FHB said...

Sully - Truely blessed.

Gramps - Dude, you should be there Sunday for the ice cream. To die for.

Mushy - Yea, I knew that'd get ya.