Gar has never liked water, but at our birthed doctor’s request, he started drinking less iced tea and more water with powdered flavors in it. As the summer wore down, he got tired of the taste of the additive in his drinks and went back to tea, which he’d been making in the form of sun tea. He’s aware that I’d like him to drink more water too, so our morning conversation was as expected. I asked, “How are you doing on your water intake?”
He nonchalantly answered, “Pretty good.”
I questioned, “Pretty good?”
He nodded and shrugged, “Ya, pretty good. I just put two quarts of water in the jar with my tea bags.”
I have a 94-year-old client, and we’ve had many conversations about how much we dislike cooking and how truly bad we are at it. One morning as we discussed our food failures she quipped, “I’ve burned more muffins than I’ve ate.”
She has a stationary recumbent bike she calls “pumper” and one day when I got to her place, she said, “You know I really like those little, red, microwave macaroni and cheese bowls. They fit perfectly in the water bottle slot on my pumper and this afternoon I put caramel corn in the little bowl and ate it while I pumped.”
We keep her refrigerator stocked with apple, grape and cranberry juice, protein drinks and water. I’d fixed dinner the evening before, then cleaned the kitchen, got her set for the night with her television remote and left. Upon arriving the next morning, there was a bowl in the sink with a small amount of milk residue in the bottom. I asked, “Did you have ice cream last night?” She nodded, “Ya, I got thirsty and wanted something cold.”
Our mountaineering daughter, Lunny, generally has to haul her own gear up mountains by backpack, but sometimes she has sherpas or porters. These helpful, knowledgeable people are always hardworking and Lunny has never met one she didn’t appreciate, nor part with anything but fondness. Her group recently hiked up Kilimanjaro, and the porters were extraordinary.
The team would get up early to a hot breakfast prepared by porters, then start hiking. The porters would breakdown camp, get on the trail behind the team, pass, then have a hot lunch ready when the team arrived. They’d do this all again for supper, which always started with steaming soup bowls. One woman on the team had a birthday midway through the week of hiking and on her big day, the porters produced, out of a backpack, a perfectly frosted cake. It wasn’t dented, cracked or mashed and had been stowed away for days. What planning, what creative packing, what kindness. I’ve taken cakes camping and they are never flaw free… similar to my cooking.
We’d pulled our RV into a park to stay awhile and were delighted to get to know a wonderful, older man named Rocky, who was located next door. After a few nights, I took a bowl of goulash over to him and he was so grateful it was kind of sad. I mean, it was my concoction, and that alone should have kept him from answering the door. The next evening, Gar and I had just finished eating crawdads with butter and feeling like diet experts about our abundant protein intake, when there was a knock on the door. Gar answered, and it was Rocky. Handing Gar two bowls of strawberries, shortcake and whipped cream, he told Gar he imagined it would last us a few days. We ate both bowls before going to bed and agreed, our neighbor quite obviously had never seen the Eidens eat.
One night, after flying to see our offspring, I texted our other kids, “Our plane landed, and as we started to exit, we were stopped. Peering around everyone I noticed a dozen policemen. I’d always known this was a possibility. The police finally realized I have no culinary skills and guessed they were there to arrest me for breaking the law by impersonating someone pretending to know how to cook. Imagine my relief when, after resignedly putting out my hands for the cuffs, they pushed a man forward who’d been causing a ruckus over connection problems. They gave him a choice. Did he want to eat a meal concocted by me or would he just as soon get the electric chair? He was still deciding when our ride arrived.”
One son texted, “He knew either was a death sentence.”