Father's Day

If I were at my parent’s house this morning, my father would be making pancakes from a sourdough starter he has nurtured for years. Last night, he would have asked, “Who wants sourdough tomorrow?” and would have already known the answer. Before turning in for the night, he would have mixed a batch of batter in an old crockery bowl and placed it in the oven to protect it from drafts. Perhaps he would have reminded my mother not to turn the oven on without first removing the bowl—a regrettable, one-time mistake that killed neither their marriage nor the hardy strain of lactobacillus bacteria culture that has lent a unique tang to generations of waffle and pancakes.

If I were at my parent’s house this morning, I’d be drinking a Mimosa while my mother filled small stoneware bowls and pitchers with jams and syrups. Perhaps my father would be enlisting the help of a grandchild to complete the final preparations of the batter. The youngest of those grandchildren just graduated from high school, so nobody would have to stand on a stool to help this time. My father would be carefully setting aside a share of the batter as a legacy for the future. He would ask, “Waffles or pancakes?

If I were at my parent’s house this morning, pancakes (or waffles) would be served at the kitchen table as my father gave each batch its final flip onto a serving plate and started another. After a few rounds, someone would tell him, “Sit down and have some yourself,” volunteering to take over. He would say, “I’m fine. Don’t worry about me. You stay there and have some more.

If I were at my parent’s house this morning, I’d be saying “Happy Father’s Day, Dad,” while deciding whether this next stack will be graced with jam or syrup. I'd be accepting a coffee warmup and thinking about Sunday breakfasts prepared in a ritual of love and generosity.

11 comments:

Lisa B said...

Heartwarming Ross! I love the memories I have of my dad, too. Though, his specialty was Kraft mac and cheese. I loved it all the same!!

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

MTC, thanks for invoking memories of many Sunday mornings in my own parents' kitchen, where my dad made his signature buttermilk waffles on an iron older than his children. With the exception of the mimosas, you could've been describing the same room, the same things said, the same enduring rituals.

Happy Father's Day.

shobiz said...

Beautiful sentiment. Can't believe a simple story about pancakes (or waffles) has got me feeling so gooey inside. I think I have something in my eye.

Happy Father's Day, MTC!

Laura said...

That's just lovely. Thanks so much.

Laura said...

My blogman, the father of my children, is out of town, so your blog comment arena will have to do, and I'm glad for it.

This year, Father's Day has the happy chance of coinciding with the summer solstice.

If my father were at my house this morning, he would gleefully jump at trying to be first to say, "Notice how the days are getting shorter?"

And if by some weird twist of happenstance he forgot or mistimed the right moment and one of us blurted it first, he would shake his head and act mockingly defeated. But then this wide grin would spread across his face and he would get the best twinkle in his eye.

After he walked into the sunset, my brother and I played the game every six months. Until my large large smelly boy caught on. Now he races to call his uncle first. But his uncle landed in China a few days ago, so when he realized the date today he e-mailed him as fast as he could. I hope his e-mail got there first.

Oh, and travelling blogman, your small large smelly boy lost two teeth since you left yesterday.

Happy Father's Day.

MightyToyCannon said...

Thanks for the comments everybody. I’ve enjoyed reading your thoughts and memories of your fathers—from ancient waffle irons to summer solstice rituals, they’re all good. Laura, you're always welcome to use this site to pass messages along to your travelling blogman!

culturejock said...

Beautiful post, MTC. Rob and Taylor and I took in a Mariners game to celebrate Father's Day together, and although Taylor was text messaging during half of the game, it really was a nice father-son-stepfather experience to remember.

jean & Dav said...

Son Ross, I knew my sourdough pancakes were part of my "persona" but was not aware that it had such significance to family and friends. Thank you for your loving blog. Dad

cynseattle said...

Lovely, Ross...made me miss my dad even more, which isn't a bad thing at all.

oh, and he would have made potatoes and scrambled eggs, emphasis on the potatoes.

GeorgeTaylor said...

Fathers and pancakes bring back poignant memories. In my case, the holiday wasn't Father's Day, it was April Fool's day; the chef wasn't my father, it was my mother; and the merry prankster was their 10-year old son, who conceived the brilliant idea of hiding a thin disk of cardboard into Dad's much anticipated first pancake of the day. Mom went along -- somewhat hesitantly, I recall. Jokes can boomerang, however. Dad'd puzzlement turned to frustration, and then to deep disappointment that ruined both his appetite and my "joke." No amount of assurances could convince him that the rest of his breakfast was uncontaminated by juvenile humor. The laughter came years later, and I'm afraid it was at the joker's expense. The paternal lesson was clear: stay away from practical jokes at breakfast time.