Monday, March 11, 2013

Feed 'em Fish

For the first time in the almost six decades in which I've known him, I heard him speak of god. We were there to help prepare a sampling of the freezer full of fish that he had bought from a door-to-door salesman. His daughter, a best friend since I was six, isn't familiar with cooking of fish, and was very concerned about the prices he had paid for food with which she isn't familiar. On the menu were fried shrimp, shrimp remoulade salad, grilled tilapia with langostino sauce, and lyonnaise potatoes.

I had carefully orchestrated that Richard would be in the kitchen with the gals to save him from the octogenarian's constant comments on armaggedon and other cheerful subjects of the sort. Seeing as he loves conversing with any man who happens by, and loves to ask Richard's opinions on all the pseudo-science that he is exposed to, this ended with our friend's father sitting in the kitchen, talking to Richard's back.

Richard's voice is so soft, he says it doesn't carry any farther than his own nose; the octogenarian is rather hard of hearing. This, as usual, led to my repetition of all Richard's comments, which invariably leads to much ridicule of me. It seems like any words that come from the lips of a woman, even if the woman is repeating, verbatim, what a man has said, somehow poisons the words.

I can often best verbal opponents, if not with erudition, with rapier wit; this is a gift I got from my father and regularly practice with my beloved Richard. Both of these men are, or were, sarcastically gifted scientists. Unlike Richard, my father had no boundaries on his snark. I try to keep mine from doing harm.

Our aged friend and I sparred for an hour or so while he intermittently admitted that he and his caretaker daughter were getting a good deal in our volunteer labors to fix their food. I reminded him that I am a food-service professional and that Richard was serving as my staff. At this point, he offered to assist with preparation by peeling shrimp. Perhaps he only felt like the work was valuable if he could be on a team that included a man.

As these things do, kitchen conversation while engaged in feeding of family, turned to talk of family values. I almost fainted when this avowed non-religious man admitted that he thought that god was in each of us. This led to a discussion of heaven and hell and eternal energy. I always knew that Jesus had a good reason for feeding people while he talked to them.

We didn't have any loaves to serve with the fish, but our friend requested that I prepare a second batch of fish before we went home.