This morning my daughter called to discuss my second oldest granddaughter who’s been testing the waters of obnoxiousness and finding herself worthy for about the last six months. Unemployed at the moment, she helps out in my daughter’s day care in the afternoons for an hourly wage. As much as I love this girl, she has a highly developed level of entitlement. What’s hers is hers and what’s yours is hers is her mantra. If there’s something she desires like her mother’s new makeup or a new blouse she’ll hole it away like a squirrel would a large walnut.
Yesterday my daughter decided to give my granddaughter a “moral test”, if you will. Remembering she owed her forty dollars, she slipped a ten-dollar bill in between the two twenties and sent her on her way, quite sure she would never recoup the loss. Instead, Miss P. stopped halfway down the hall, turned and said, “Mom, you gave me fifty dollars instead of forty”, and handed her back the ten. Feeling reborn as a mother and proud of her offspring she couldn’t wait for my son-in-law to come home to relate the story.
After her husband walked in the door and changed, she handed him a glass of wine and excitedly told him of their daughter’s sterling character. After she was through he took a sip of wine and said, “Sweetie, we only owed her twenty.” Ah well, in the spirit of optimism, she could have pocketed the ten.
As I have explained to both my children and my grandchildren, trust is a delicate and precious commodity. Initially it should be given freely and without hesitation. However, if it is found to be misplaced and taken away, getting it back can be like trying to plug a hole in a bucket with a cotton ball, it takes a lot of work and the bucket’s never quite the same.
In the year of my thirty-ninth birthday, or BM, that would be “before ma’am”, as I refer to those carefree years before the bagger at the market began to ask if I needed help carrying a loaf of bread to the car, I found myself single once again. It’s an interesting phenomenon when you find yourself disenfranchised in the married sense, the invitations to social functions from your married friends seem to mysteriously dwindle. I believe this to be due to the fact that they are protecting what is theirs. Since I had seen what was theirs, and they had shared most of the faults and shortcomings of their men with me on numerous occasions, outside of the threat of bodily harm, their men were safer with me than stranded on an island with Mother Teresa. As my neighbor in Arkansas put most succinctly while plucking the feathers from a purloined turkey, “Even if my stomach’s growlin’ bad I’d never stoop so low as to go poachin’ on ma friend’s propaty”. Words to live by.
Single people tend to gravitate towards one another. It’s just natural. Married girlfriends lives, for the most part, revolve around their husbands and families. That is how it should be. Thus, most of my socializing revolved around a strong group of single women of varying ages whose friendships I treasured, a couple of tried and true guy pals, and my best friend, who still holds the title, who was my partner in crime.
In that year prior to my fortieth birthday she had been seeing a man, Mike for the sake of this writing, for about a year and a half. They were committed in the sense that they exclusively dated, but were not sharing housing nor had there been any plans discussed involving tiered cakes and Spanish lace. However, the understanding was they did not fish in other streams, if you follow my drift.
Every other Saturday, Mike played poker with his college buddies, a tradition which had held true since they were in school. On those nights she and I often got together to catch up or share a pizza. On one particular night she was obviously upset when she arrived at the restaurant. It seemed that she’d found a phone number on a cocktail napkin in Mike’s jacket and that he had been acting strangely over the past few weeks. Also, she usually called him to say that she was on her way home from our evenings out, but this night he had said he’d call her instead. Curiouser and curiouser.
Joining us that night was a mutual girlfriend, Lee. Lee never imbibed so was handy both because she was incredibly funny, but also she could drive when others should not. Pulling her into the conversation about the errant Mike, and several martinis to the good , a plan was hatched. I might interject here that probably other than some notable exceptions, for the most part good ideas are rarely hatched in a vat of gin. I’m just saying. On the next scheduled poker night the three of us decided we would do a little private investigating of our own and see if we could beat Mike at his own game, pardon the pun.
On the night in question we parked a block away from Mike’s house in Lee’s sister’s car. I wore a ball cap, and Lee and my best buddy wore wigs, one red and the other curly gray, respectively, looking like the cast from Mama’s Family. Miss Marples would have been proud.
Mike backed out of his driveway and Lee pulled in behind him. The game’s afoot. Instead of heading in the direction of his poker game, he turned his truck into the driveway of the local Notel Motel. Oh-oh. Now, to understand how this could end badly you must first understand that my girlfriend is a passionate blend of Sicilian and Greek and to say she has a temper would be like Mike Tyson hits pretty good for a guy.
Before long a blonde, (Why is it always a blonde?) pulled in next to him in a red Camaro. After the couple shared a brief embrace my girlfriend leaped from the car, and ran the length of the parking lot in what might well have earned her the Olympic gold. Mike, seeing her coming, did the only thing a man could do when cornered, he hid in the bushes. Not to be dissuaded, my friend wrenched him out by his hair and began to plummet him with her purse. Then she turned to the blonde who was now frantically trying to open her car door. Lee and I managed to arrive just before the blonde was headed for a better place and brought the situation under control. Mike, however, was no longer in the game.
Trust to me is everything. It’s the bottom block in the foundation and if you remove it, all the blocks placed above it become unstable. Ah, my thoughts on love over Valentine’s week.
Double Dipped Fried Chicken
1 whole fryer, cut up (3 1/2 – 4 lbs.)
2 tsp. plus 1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. coarse sea salt, divided
1 1/2 tsp. Hungarian paprika
3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Oil for cooking (peanut or Canola)
Whisk together 1 Tbsp. sea salt, 2 tsp. black pepper, Hungarian paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and white pepper. Rub over chicken pieces. Place in covered bowl in refrigerator overnight.
Remove from refrigerator and let stand on counter, covered, for 1 hr. prior to cooking.
In large flat container, whisk together flour, cornstarch, 1 Tbsp. pepper, and 1 Tbsp. salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk and 1/2 cup water.
Heat 1″ of oil in large deep skillet. Lightly dredge chicken pieces first in flour mixture tapping to remove excess, then in egg/buttermilk mixture, and again in flour mixture.
Don’t crowd skillet and cook in batches as needed. Fry chicken, turning often, until crust is a deep golden brown, and internal temperature is 165 degrees (12-15 mins.) Place on rack over paper towels to drain. Yum.