It’s funny how cooking an egg differently on a cold day can bring up memories of breakfast with my Grandfather, Daddy S.L., back in Little Rock, Arkansas. I was nine. His eggs were sunny side up and running into a plate of grits that he divided with a slice of dry toast between pours of black coffee onto a saucer for me to cool down and slurp. From the kitchen my Grandma MaDear would clear her throat instead of issuing another admonishment.
He would watch me with caring, instructive eyes that I hope to watch my own son with and I would hear him saying from other mornings, “Blow softly and cool off the steam. Don’t burn your tongue so early in the morning. You still have to say good morning to your girlfriend, Ms. Tucker”. His smile was a gap-toothed wonder just below the thinnest mustache I’d ever seen in my life. His face was slender and shaped like an almond with small ears and heavy brows that let his brown eyes run through your soul behind a pair of tortoise-shell Ray Bans that would bring Malcolm X comparisons all through his life.
When it was time to leave he would drain his cup, sit is back into the saucer then reach over and brush my uncombed hair. “James Chris”, his gentle and stern calling of my full name awoke me anew. “Be good today. Help my Sweet Girl with whatever she asks and be sure to ask Ms. Tucker if she needs your help catching grasshoppers for her pie.” I would nod and he would stand to his full 6’2″, spidery height and step into the kitchen to kiss Grandma MaDear bye for the day.
Each time, on their way to the door, Grandma MaDear would slide a plate of grits and scrambled eggs with grape jellied toast onto the table before me. Then, without fanfare or correction or even a wink and a nod, she placed a cup and saucer with cooled, Pet Milk and sugared coffee right there, too. They walked and kissed again at the curb, like most of their neighbors on Wolfe Street in Central Little Rock, Arkansas, and as he drove off to his job as Foreman of the State Fair Grounds, she settled into a morning ritual of picking lady bugs off of tomato plants and quiet smiles from the porch.
Back inside, I wolfed down the hot breakfast before my brother awoke and began to whine for his own. Even to this day I save a corner of toast and a sip of coffee and a corner of toast. As a child it was to dip into the remains of Daddy S.L. running egg from his plate and to finish the meal with the certainly cooled swallow. Today, it’s just a reminder that I once lived, ate and drank in the presence of a wonderful giant.
From behind me, my son, young Langston is watching and wondering just what I’m doing to this egg. He met the giant before he passed a few years ago. Today, he’ll eat like him.
Next Post: “My 82 year old First Girlfriend, Ms. Tucker”
*The next post is determined by the first response to the current post. Gail D. posted a response asking me about Ms. Tucker.