Cold Showers

On a cold blustery wet April Saturday, after getting up and brewing a pot of strong coffee, I read in the dark as the dog snoozed. I think it was he who decided that, if we’re going to go to all the trouble of putting on his harness and slicker (just a slicker for me), that we’re going to make it count with a long loop to the fringes of the neighborhood and back. He kept a pretty good pace.

Everyone was just creeping downstairs when we got back. We were soaked.

My wyfe helped the dog dry out, while I got on some dry clothes. He stretched out on a towel on the kitchen floor, while I rummaged through the fridge, and pulled out eggs, a loaf of sliced Tuscan bread (as it’s called), a small tupperware of leftover dressed “Greek” salad (feta and olives mixed with chopped iceberg, with grated carrots, purple cabbage and sliced Bermuda onion, all marinated in a vinaigrette of vegetable oil and red wine) from last night’s pizza order.

I put four small slices of bread, the end pieces of the round, in the Slowest Toaster of All Time, and melted butter in a 12-inch skillet. Four eggs went in, and then I broke the yolk of the first one (for the dog), hit them all with a big pinch of kosher salt sprinkled over the lot, and hit the three with intact yolks with black pepper from the mill. When the toast finished, I arrayed it on the plate and covered it (just baredly) with a layer of the salad, scraping the dressing and carrot shreds on top, then put the fried eggs on top, one, two, three. I chopped up the hard-cooked, last egg in the skillet with the side of the spatula and set it aside to cool. Of course by now the dog was sitting up, watching me intently. It’s almost as if he knows, the salad has to be left over and marinated overnight.

As a side note, I remember one time my brother and I were playing the game Password, a word guessing game, where one member of a two-person team gives a one-word clue to a partner, and the idea is to get the guessing partner to say the word in the fewest number of guesses. I was partnered with my mother, a lover of words and games, who delivered many brilliant moments in a long career of high proficience. She looked at the card and then looked up and said my name, fixed me with her gaze, and said, “slicker.” I looked back, and after a pause, said, “oilskin.” This single-guess win on a seemingly obscure word sent my brother into a fit. After all, he and my dad were playing just to humor mom. I say “win” because I think he declined to continue after that.

Cold Showers