Our son and daughter-in-law were due here at 8:30 yesterday morning for hot coffee, made-to-order omelets, and assorted breads. I woke my other half up about 15 minutes early and shortly found him standing at the coffee maker mumbling. He feels my faith in human beings far exceeds their capacity to live up to it.
These two are habitually late, by late I do not mean comfortably late, say fifteen or twenty minutes, I mean alert the media late. I love these two characters, but in our history together spanning some ten plus years, I have never known them to arrive on time. Still, somewhere in the depths of my eternally optimistic being, I continue to hold out hope they will show up at, or at least around, the agreed upon time when plans are made. Yesterday, was not to be that day.
By 9:15 Mr. Sunny was sitting across from me drumming his fingers on the counter top and flashing me that “I told you so” look. What? I’m sure they have an excellent reason, or are at least in the process of thinking one up. The filling ingredients for the omelet were starting to look a bit droopy so I made two omelets for us and repackaged everything returning it to the fridge. At 10:15 they arrived, Peet’s coffee cups in hand. After their dad made a remark about the time, a list of creative excuses spewed forth ranging from being attacked by a marauding band of bi-polar dwarfs to finding a flock of emu blocking the driveway. In the end it was because they stopped to get coffee and got hung up. Is it just me?
I hate being late. Conversely, I hate being the first one on the scene. I try to make a reasonable effort to arrive politely around the indicated time I’m invited. My ex-husband was another perpetually late human being. If by some miracle we were backing out of the driveway on time, there were always several return trips to retrieve his glasses, his wallet, well, basically everything he carried in his pants. Now that I think of it, perhaps I should have been thankful he’d remembered to put pants on. It got so dire, I would adjust the time of an event an hour earlier so we could at least arrive in time for dessert.
My first husband died prematurely at thirty-two of kidney disease. Several years later his younger brother, Danny, received the same difficult diagnosis. During his illness Dan never burdened others with his problems. He faced his disease with that ever-present twinkle in his eye, rarely complaining, and always having a joke or two to share. I loved him. He was a special man and a good friend.
After fighting the heroic fight for fifteen years, we lost Dan in his forty-second year. Coming from a large Irish Catholic family, a wake was scheduled. It was their tradition to gather pictures of the person being honored and create a memory board, prepare lots of fabulous food, tell stories about shared times, hoist a pint or two, shed a tear and then a laugh, and basically celebrate his time on earth. A nice tradition to my mind.
As I’ve mentioned my ex was consistently, annoyingly, religiously late for everything. On the occasion of Dan’s funeral, I asked that he make the extra effort to change this habit. In his defense, we were less late than usual, but far from on time. Stressed, I felt sick to my stomach, so we ran through a drive-thru and picked up some fries. Unfortunately, we faced a two-hour drive on the L.A. freeways. Typically, traffic was so backed up joggers with baby strollers could have gotten to the finish line before us.
The funeral was scheduled at one of those sprawling cemeteries with multiple chapels and sections bearing names like Lily of the Valley Crest. It had gates at the entrance with personnel to assist you. In my rush to leave the house I had left the explicit directions on the counter. Arriving at the gate nearly an hour behind schedule we gave the family name to the guard. After some searching were directed up the hill and around numerous bends and twists. As far as cemeteries go, this one was spectacular. It looked more like a golf course than a final resting place, with fountains and ponds, huge spans of perfectly manicured lawns, and maintenance personnel flitting around in golf carts. I half expected someone to yell “fore”.
We came to a chapel looking to be the right one. They all had vaguely familiar names and each had cars parked in the adjacent lots so it was confusing. After parking, we went quietly inside, sitting in the back pew. A person I did not recognize was speaking at the podium. Although I had been in contact with Dan over his last years, as he became more ill he stopped socializing other than work, so I was not acquainted with his current circle of friends.
After listening to the speaker for a moment and searching the crowd for a familiar face, I began to have the creeping realization we were not at the right funeral. When the speaker mentioned a name other than Dan, he confirmed it. Between losing a dear friend, being seriously late, and finding ourselves saying our goodbyes to someone we did not know, I found myself losing it. Stress took hold, and I began to hyperventilate. If you’ve ever experienced this, it occurs when you’re breathing too fast and too often causing an oxygen overload to your system, oddly causing you to feel as though you can’t get your breath. Not the first time I’d had one, I had been instructed to count backwards from 100 and put a paper bag over my head. Swell.
As I struggled to breathe while working my way down through the eighties, people began to stare. The speaker stopped speaking. My husband was trying to quietly get me out of the back door while I was sucking for air like a wide-mouthed bass just hauled into the back of the boat. Once again in the car the only bag available was the Jack in the Box bag, so having no choice, I pulled it over my head. After a few moments I regained my composure, if not my dignity, and my breathing improved. Once again we returned to the gate. This time we were handed a paper map and located the correct chapel just in time to find people getting in their cars and leaving for the wake. Dan would have found this hysterically funny knowing him, so that’s how I said my goodbyes. At the wake several people standing next to me kept remarking they smelled French fries. Curious.
These eggs are soooooo good. I made a big batch yesterday for brunch for company and they loved them.
Fully Loaded Egg Scramble
10 large eggs
2 1/2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 Tbsp. water
4 Tbsp. chunky salsa (I use hot)
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
3 green onions, sliced thin (white section)
16 cooked link sausages
10 slices crispy bacon, crumbled
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 ripe avocados, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together eggs, sour cream, water, salt and pepper. Cut sausages in half lengthwise and then slice in thin slices. Melt butter in large skillet. Add onions, sausages, and bacon. Saute for 3 mins. Add eggs to skillet. Cook and stir until set but not firm. Add cheese and continue cooking 2-3 mins. until cheese is melted. Add cubed avocado and continue cooking about 2 mins. Serve with extra salsa and sour cream. Serves 6.