Thursday, January 24, 2019

Trust Me, It's a Booster Shot

It was exactly the right day to spend with the men in my life.

Because today is my Dad's 87th birthday, I'd offered to motor to the Northern Neck and bring lunch, but only after asking what he wanted for his celebratory meal. To my surprise, the request was for a Cobb salad.

Unlikely as it sounds, can do.

The drive out was easy enough and once there, I set about making my Dad's idea of a birthday cake: lemon meringue pie. It should probably be noted that it's been a couple decades since I last made one. But I jumped in, baking the crust, stirring and boiling the filling and whipping the egg whites to make a generous meringue to be browned in the oven.

All the while my Mom is trying to convince me that, like her other five daughters, I'm a wonderful cook who has simply opted out of cooking lately.

I let her keep her delusions.

In between steps, I chat up Dad about his thoughts on the Rams, an innocuous question that led me down a rabbit hole involving Sean McVay, Jon Gruden and the ignorance of Dan Snyder. So, in other words, just another family sports discussion.

And let's not forget that I have zero interest in sports to start and was merely making conversation.

Then there's my Mom who has zero interest in cooking or new foods. As we were eating the salad, she forked up a bit of avocado and commented innocently, "This is the first time I've ever had avocado." Not at all surprised (she refused to serve us butter beans or beets during our childhood because she hated them), I asked what she thought of it. "Doesn't taste like much and that color is so unappealing," she said.

It's amazing that I sprung from her boring culinary loins.

Fortunately, my Dad's love of oysters, soft shell crabs and anchovies was enough to motivate my palate and keep the fire alive even as she attempted to raise another bland eater like herself.

We even had a little Prosecco with lunch, the better to toast Dad's longevity - "To the first two major women in your adult life!" was the best I could do - and continued good humor, despite a complete disgust with the current state of U.S. affairs. I am comforted knowing he intends to outlive the current leader of the free world solely so that he can see how the history books treat him.

I've got to give him credit for even bothering to care after all these years.

It was the oddest weather today because when I left Mom and Dad's, it was ridiculously warmer than when I'd arrived and forecast to be warmer still by this evening. I know my science knowledge is sketchy at best, but I still I can't quite figure out how it was 9 degrees on Monday and 60 degrees today.

I'm not complaining, either.

Once I was back in J-Ward, my evening was given over to Mr. Wright after he'd asked me on a last minute dinner date. Although our intention had been to get through a very busy week for both of us before reconvening post-vacation, he'd decided he needed a little company to tide him over until the weekend.

Amazing the effects it has on a person when they breathe the same air while at the oceanfront.

The night felt soft and warm when we strolled over to Bar Solita to catch up on each other's adjustment back to reality. Once we had a bottle of Laurent Miguel Grenache Blanc on the table, it began to feel like vacation again, minus the ocean flats and shorts.

Despite the absence of salty breezes, we ate like were were still beach hungry, downing a basil pesto pizza, orzo salad and grilled asparagus like we'd been out soaking up sun all afternoon instead of working hard at our desks.

Because apparently old beach appetites die hard.

Behind our booth, a familiar face popped up, although it took me a hot second to recognize the handsome server who'd shorn his shoulder length mane to a dashing short cut that made him just this side of unrecognizable. Still, it was great to see his smiling face and learn that he's roosted at my neighborhood joint.

We were looking at the rain on the streets outside the window when our server stopped by to check on our interest in dessert. In what can only be attributed to lingering vacation mode, Mr. Wright requested some Oreo gelato with absolutely no suggestion from me.

On the other hand, if a 50 degree January night isn't as good a reason as any to be eating ice cream with your vacation partner, I don't know what is.

But you can be sure I'd find a way to justify anything to extend this vacation hangover. To quote Miss Diana Ross, "If there's a cure for this, I don't want it. If there's a remedy, I'll run from it."

Besides, if I can drive to the river, bake a pie and still find time to bask in the recent past, there's no cure in order. Just allow me to wallow in it a bit longer.

Spoken as only the daughter of a very satisfied 87-year old man can.

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