Sunday, June 19, 2011

Obligatory Acknowledgement of Father's Day

My dad isn't a sentimental guy. He doesn't like greeting cards, or meandering trips down memory lane; all that is my mom's purview. She's the one who wants flowers and phone calls on her birthday and would happily spend the rest of our lives going over the giant plastic storage tubs full of photographs she took when I was a child, insisting I remember events and people I have no memory whatsoever of. I'm more like my dad, but I do all those things for her, because she likes them, and I like to make her happy.

I'm not totally insensitive to my dad's needs. He just doesn't really have them. Sometimes I do precious father/daughter things because Mom wants them done, but mostly I just hang out with my dad because he can be fun to hang out with. We don't "bond." We just hang out. We've known each other for a while, you see.

But I still had lunch with my dad today. Because it's farking Father's Day, and my dad likes eating at Emma Key's, and why not? Everyone around me lives far away from their fathers, and couldn't hang out with them today, and it made me unaccountably grateful for the fact that I live so close.

And, yeah, my mom and Albuquirky Aunt were there, and he and I were both grumpy for various reasons, but it counts. He had a Carolina-style burger (for those of you who don't know, that's a burger built like a real hotdog - chili, slaw, onions, mustard) (and chili means spicy ground beef in a sauce like a condiment, not soup with beans) and I had a "Vegan Cake" which is basically a falafel burger made with black beans. They almost never have the vegan bread but I'm not really vegan, so I don't care. It's yummy. You'd think a burger and shake shack would be the last place a lactose-intolerant vegetarian would like to eat, but I love it there.

Then obviously we ate ice cream because if I can't run, I'm going to eat goddamn ice cream. And since all this happened between 2 and 4 pm, I wasn't hungry at dinner and basically ate some greek yogurt with cereal out of habit at 9.

I found a cereal I don't like One Bit At All - Cookie Crisp! Honestly, it's this weird combination of chocolate and... not-chocolate... and it just doesn't work for me. The BearCat-CatBear says that it's really meant to be eaten in milk, but I don't like eating cereal in milk, so there you go. I like dry cereal, or cereal in yogurt if I'm feeling adventuresome. The best thing to me is Corn Flakes and strawberry yogurt. Seriously.

I'm talking about food here because that's how my dad and I communicate. Through food. We share a near-maniacal need to Eat Well. He taught it to me, through exposure, taking me along on all kinds of quests - the perfect hotdog, the best barbecue. I cringe, thinking about the various picky eater phases I went through, including the phase where I ate nothing but chicken caesar salads, and all the food experiences I could have been having instead.

Wednesday, my last night in Winston-Salem, I walk in the house after my crappy, ankle-stabbing run, and sitting on the counter in Grandma's kitchen was a styrofoam takeout container. Inside was a vegetable plate from the best shack in NC - and I mean it is literally a shack - Snook's Barbecue. I don't know if their barbecue is any good but I do know that they make hands down the best cabbage in the world.

Sometimes Dad can make things right without even knowing that something was wrong. That's why he's Dad, and everyone else is just a schmuck. (Kudos if you get the reference.)

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