I don’t remember what a hot hamburger tastes like. The coffee in my cup is always cold. The last time I sat down in front of a plate of food for more than 10 minutes without getting up? Well, I can’t remember.
First I dish up two plates of food so they can cool. Steam rises from green beans as David says Grace. “Dear Jesus thank you for this good food, thank you for this good food, thank you for this good food. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” The more times he repeats, “thank you for this good food,” the longer he delays eating, the less he likes what I’m serving.
Now the food is cool. I scan Wade’s plate for what needs cut into bite size pieces. I’m a master, the kabuki chef of chopping hotdogs into small, even, harmless morsels. I’m deft at shredding chicken with a fork. I know just the right length to trim spaghetti — short enough to eat without making a mess, long enough that it’s still fun to eat.
Then David needs butter on his sweet corn. Cheese on his burger. Ketchup for his fries.
A glass of milk spills. Quick! Clean it up! It’s dripping on the dog who stands patiently under the edge of the table, not looking up but rather down, watching the floor for any crumbs that might fall from the boys’ plates. Ugh! The dog will smell like sour milk now. Add bathe dog to tomorrow’s to-do list.
At this point three or four bites have entered my mouth. Of what I’m not sure. I was too distracted to notice what I was eating.
A fork hits the floor. Must get a clean one.
“You need more milk?” Walk to the fridge.
“You want more french fries?” Pass the dish.
“Yes you have to eat your broccoli. Fine then you can sit there all night.” Whining starts. “Please don’t act like that at the table.”
“Wade, your feet don’t belong on your plate!”
“What? You’re all done eating? I haven’t even started. Yes, you may be excused. Hey! Put your plates in the sink.”
Cold burger. Cold beans. Cold salad. At least salad is a dish best served cold.