Memories of my Dad when I was a teenager were of the strict schedule of his days. No one dared interfere with his routine.
Mom was up early to get breakfast and then Dad would get out of bed around 7:00 and get dressed and wander into the only bathroom in the house. At 7:20 exactly he would exit the bathroom and join Mom in the kitchen where she would have his breakfast ready; usually bacon or sausage and eggs, toast or pancakes, and coffee.
Coffee for my Dad was a ritual and I would be mesmerized watching him every time he drank a cup. He always drank it out of a cup not a mug and the first step was to put 2 heaping teaspoons of sugar in the cup, and then he would stir it vigorously for a minute. Then he added a heaping tablespoon of cream. The cream was bought from a local farmer and was so thick it would mound up on the tablespoon and had to be spooned out of the jar because it wouldn’t pour.
Now that the cream and sugar were in the cup, he could get down to some serious stirring. I can still hear the rattle of the spoon as he vigorously stirred around and around, then back and forth, only interrupted by the sound of the coffee as he raised the spoon and dribbled the coffee into the cup. This routine would last for a few minutes until he deemed it cool enough to drink.
At 7:50 he was up from the table and after teasing mom for a few seconds he was out the door and off to work. She would have the morning to get ready for his trip home at noon.
At 12:05 he would walk in the door for lunch and Mom would always have it ready to put on the table. First thing when he sat down was his coffee and his stirring routine while she was setting the food on the table.
For lunch he always had a piece of bread with peanut butter on it with his meal. But the peanut butter was not spread on the bread as is, it had to mixed to just the right consistency with white Karo syrup. More of the manic stirring until it was just right and then it was spread on the bread.
One of his favorite meals was hot dogs, fried potatoes, fresh tomatoes and radishes, and dessert. (Every meal except breakfast he had to have dessert.) He never ate a hot dog bun just the hot dog and he would cut it up on the plate. The radishes were cut into little slices and laid on the table with salt sprinkled on them.
The potatoes would be covered with white Karo syrup before he ate them and the tomatoes were coated with salt. At the end of the meal you would find the end pieces of the hot dog and the little corner of the bread that his fingers had touched still on his plate. Mom even tried cutting off the ends of the hot dog one time and he still left the ends on the plate.
At 12:35 he would get up from the table and walk into the bedroom and lay down. I think he was asleep before his head hit the pillow. He would sleep for exactly 20 minutes and get up on his own and come back to the kitchen to give Mom a kiss and a pinch somewhere and then he was out the door.
Supper was always at 6:00PM and the whole family had to be at the table to eat together. Dad sat at the head of the table and even when there were 2 kids on each side of the table and Mom was at the other end; he could reach any of us if we acted up. The rules of the table were: no hats, no humming or singing and everyone ate what was on the table.
He never came to the table without a flyswatter, and it lay on his lap throughout the whole meal. He could reach the kid that sat the farthest away from him without even raising off the chair. He did not hesitate reaching down the table and giving you a little swat if you didn’t act right.
As soon as supper was over he would go into the living room and relax in his recliner and read the paper with his favorite cat or dog on his lap. Beside the chair was a dish of black licorice and he would eat that until 7:45 when mom would make popcorn for everyone.
Popcorn was an every night affair, and it was made in a pan that you had to stand and shake so it wouldn’t burn. On another burner she had some real butter melting slowly. The popcorn was covered in the butter and a large serving bowl was given to Dad. The rest of us shared what was left.
Saturday nights he ate his popcorn while he watched boxing. We only had one TV so you watched what Dad wanted or you went to your room and listened to AM radio. Sometimes while the boxing match was on he would fall asleep. I would creep across the living room (no remotes then) and change the channel.
As soon as the other channel came on he would say “I was watching that, put it back on boxing.” We would try to tell him he was sleeping and snoring, but he would continue to claim he was watching and back to boxing it would go.
9:00 PM was the time for vanilla ice cream and Hershey chocolate syrup. A large cereal bowl mounded high with rich ice cream and then covered with the syrup was served to dad. Once he finished the ice cream he watched TV until 10:00PM and then he thought it should be turned off and everyone should go to bed.
Now the question I am sure everyone is asking about a day with daddy is how large was this man who only stood 5’9” tall? Even after eating all the stuff he ate during each and everyday, he only weighed 135 pounds soaking wet with all his clothes on. I inherited his sweet tooth but unfortunately I didn’t receive his fast metabolism. To contact Sandy: [email protected]