Growing up, there were a few, a very few, times that Daddy actually cooked. I’m not talking about when he’d grill steaks outside in the oil barrel that had been rigged up for that purpose and had, for some inexplicable reason, been painted silver. I mean he’d actually get in the kitchen and cook.
These rare occasions usually were on Sunday nights after church. Thinking back, these times may have been some kind of apology to Mother for a disagreement they may have had. I couldn’t know for sure as Daddy couldn’t standing “fussing,” and Mother was in perpetual understudy mode in case Donna Reed twisted her ankle.
Daddy’s culinary expertise was limited, as fitted a man of his generation, and everything he cooked would have spent time in the frying pan. Unlike pots and boilers and baking dishes, it was never necessary to ask where the “fry” pan was because it was either on the stove or in an unused oven.
So it was that these special dinners would likely consist of fried steak, fried potatoes, and gravy. Not the beautiful chicken fried steak that Mother would prepare that looked like a restaurant advertisement. Nor the perfectly sliced strips of potato fried to an exquisite golden brown. Nor the creamy white gravy colored only with the occasional spot of black pepper used for seasoning.
No, Daddy’s dinner was irregularly shaped pieces of meat with extra crunch added from whatever was already in the grease, paired with unevenly fried potatoes that were alternately too thick or too thin. And the gravy was unapologetically lumpy.
Needless to say, it all tasted divine.
With the ongoing goings on in America today, I’ve tried to find a common theme or even some similarities to come up with something smooth and marginally insightful. Instead, I’ve stirred it, whisked it, and put it through the blender, and it’s still a gelatinous mess. It doesn’t pour into this figurative gravy boat–it plops.
Although most of the country seems to have moved on from the closing night of the Republican National Convention, I continue to be somewhat fixated on those optics. While I do love to see the British royals waving to all the common folks from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, part of the reason I enjoy that sight is because it’s over there. The spectacle of a presidential family lined up with the White House looking like a backdrop deployed for cynical political purposes is an image I never expected to see.
I’ve tried to imagine my response if a different president had done it. I just can’t get a visual of George and Laura coming out with their daughters, flanked by Bush the elder and Barbara on one side with Jeb and Columba on the other. Nor can I picture Jack and Jackie, each holding the hand of one of their children, with Joe and Rose, Bobby and Ethel, Teddy and Joan (bless her heart), and all those other toothy Kennedys grinning at the crowds and the cameras for good measure. Maybe at Kennebunkport or Hyannis, but not at the White House.
Dynastic ambition is nothing new in American politics, but the sight of Trump with his family (minus a couple of baby mamas) left a little something to be desired in that regard. After all, the White House isn’t Buck House, and for good reason.
But that’s a leftover lump. Now we have something way more important to chew on, namely Nancy Pelosi’s hair. Plus there’s Melania Trump using private emails discussing official business. Oh, the hypocrisy! Just between us, the amount of energy it took for me to hit shift to make that explanation mark is equal to the amount of damn I care about either of those stories.
Back to visuals, I’ll just have to say “no” when it comes to the pool boy story. Of course, we shouldn‘t judge consenting adults for what they do in their bedrooms. (When has that ever been true?). But, the hypocrisy! See above, and let’s move on.
With two months until the election, it may be best—with apologies to Melania for using those two words correctly—to just accept that much of what will hit our radars will be anything but relevant. The home stretch going into a presidential election is never smooth, and this one promises to be a doozy.
So here’s hoping you like lumpy gravy, because that’s what we’re going to be served.