Jam Baby

A random smattering of ideas and events all melded into one in my mind this weekend. Berry picking, farm to table, neil young, making homemade jam and Father’s Day all collided into a beautifully sad day.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of my father’s disappearance. He was never found and probably never wanted to be found, but we will never know for sure. The last we heard from him he had dropped my brother and sister off from a short vacation to the Wisconsin Dells, he left to go back to his job as a line cook on an oil rig off the coast in Louisiana. Shortly after my mom received a crude hand written note saying he had run into some trouble.

I don’t know much about Jeff because even before he was missing he was missing. If you have an addict in your life you know what I am talking about, they are never really present. He worked for the Northwestern Railroad as conductor/ticket taker, his routine involved walking to the train, bringing people into the city, two round trips, playing poker, drinking and smoking in the break room until rush hour hit, two more round trips and then home to continue the drinking. You always knew he when we was home, he would bound through the door either yelling and screaming or laughing – you never knew what you were going to get mood wise. He would take off his rancid shoes and socks and the room would immediately fill with the smell of hot rotting trash. If he was in a good mood he would grab you and hug you a little too hard and hold on a little too long, the smell of bourbon and cigarettes sticking to your face. If not it was a good idea to get the hell out of the house.

It’s funny, because after all these years I rarely think of him anymore, except when I smell him, the combo of bourbon and cigarettes triggers me every time. And then there is Father’s Day, it is never the first thing on my mind, but as the day goes on and I notice my restlessness sometime before the day is i over, I slow down enough to remember that it is Father’s Day and that brings it all back. The good memories that I have of my dad mostly involve food. We were poor, but during his manic episodes you would never know it. He would take us out for extravagant dinners, allowing us to order whatever we wanted. I was introduced to oysters, crab, lobster, grilled filet mignon with bernaise, rabbit from traditional german restaurants, you name it. He had an obsession with good food and was the skilled cook in our family, but he rarely cooked. Instead he would butcher my mothers cooking every night, complaining about every little detail.

When you grow up with such a force in your life you do what you can to differentiate, to separate, to detach – at least I did. I spent many hours of my day standing at my kitchen counter, painstakingly hulling 4lbs of strawberries that my son and I had picked fresh the day before, measuring out organic pure cane sugar and juicing the organic lemon before measuring out the 35 year old balsamic vinegar. I sliced the strawberries and added the sugar, allowing them to macerate for a few minutes before plunging my bare hands in to mash them and release their juices. With the stove on I slowly added the lemon juice and stirred methodically until it had reached the jell point, when I added the magic touch, the perfectly aged balsamic. I finished it off by canning it and setting the pints on the counter to rest until the next day.

Rye bourbon in hand with not just any cherry, but a luxardo cherry I moved out to the deck to rest when “old man” came on…”old man look at my life, I’m a lot like you, I need someone to love me the whole day through…I have been first and last, funny how the times goes past”.

Happy Father’s Day, for just when we think we are so different we realize we aren’t.

20130617-083119.jpg

20130617-083128.jpg

20130617-083140.jpg

20130617-083147.jpg

Promiscuous Intelligence

Andrew Fitzgerald's blog

Blog - Capes Coaching

Uncovering the idiocyncracies of life and living each moment, one at a time

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

allaboutmanners

Just another WordPress.com site

Pollock of Light

Twitter: @lluisbusse

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

MindMedicine Blog

Professional Golfer & Mind Coach in Life & Professional Sport...

MindfulVision

My tribute to life with all its curiosities and miracles

Playing Your Hand Right

Showing America how to Live

Gotta Find a Home

Conversations with Street People

Grevillea Corner

Archive Writings of Stephanie J Mohan (Australia)

floreakeats

Food Writing. Fun. Home of The Food A--hole's Dilemma and other delicacies

cancer killing recipe

Just another WordPress.com site

The Adventures of Fanny P.

...because life is just one big adventure...