Here I am with my mom this past weekend in Wichita, Kansas, on her 86th birthday. Mom, Jennifer and I went out to eat for mom’s birthday dinner. We had cheeseburgers, fries, Pepsi’s and chocolate shakes. Yes siree!
While we were eating our burgers, I thought back to when I was in the 4th grade. That was long before cars (Well, maybe not quite, but it seems like it). One evening my dad and mom took us all out to eat. That may have included my grandma (who lived with us). We were 5 kids (3 boys; 2 girls) — 8 in all. In any case, eating out was unusual.
That evening dad and mom introduced my sisters and brothers and me to steak, baked potatoes (wrapped in tin foil), tossed salad, hot rolls and butter and iced tea. I soon learned that you could get fries with your steak, if you didn’t want the baked potato. Well let me tell you. I was off to the races. I guess I’m still in that race because it’s a dinner I still like.
In high school I was a guard on my high school basketball team. On the nights of home games, mom threw a steak on the grill for my pre-game dinner when I got home after school.
While I dipped my steak bites in A1 or Heinz 57 steak sauce, mom sat across the kitchen table from me and we visited.
Over the years, cooking steaks, and burgers on their grill right outside the back door of their home brought dad and mom lots of pleasure.
Dad worked for a big public utility company, and he had a natural gas line installed that ran directly to the grill. The grill had permanent charcoal briquettes. So all you had to do was turn on the gas, light it and let it heat up. That allowed dad and mom to grill year round, even on the coldest days. The grill was a mere 3-feet from the door. It was not unusual for dad to grill steaks during the Christmas holidays, or on his birthday, January 1.
After we 5 ducklings left the nest and moved away, mom and dad still used the grill a lot, but they also went out almost every week for burgers, fries and shakes. Last week it warmed my heart to see that mom still enjoys one of her old standbys.
To be clear, we didn’t just have burgers and fries on mom’s birthday. We had burgers and fries the next day too. We ate a little cheesecake to top things off, and well, to make it a balanced meal.
But not to worry, friends. Jennifer and I bought a bag of tangerines and ate them as we drove back to Illinois. And as anyone surely knows from doing a simple google search, eating tangerines during a long road trip unclogs your arteries instantly. I’m pretty sure that also covers the 3 days prior to eating the tangerines. So no worries. It’s all good, especially that extra ketchup for the fries!