Growing up in our Elmhurst ranch house was an example of form following function. Our house had enough bedrooms, enough chairs, enough yard for a family of five, which we were. This meant, among other things, we didn’t have houseguests often, almost never.
An exception was a three-day visit from Mom’s cousin and her husband who resided on the West Coast where it is pretty much assumed houseguests are part of life.
Mom’s feverish preparations belied this assumption. So befuddled was she that reservations were actually made for the seven of us to dine out at a pricey restaurant. We were not typically restaurant people, let alone restaurants that take reservations.
Arriving dressed up and not a little stunned, I found the evening memorable for three reasons:
1. Mom’s cousin ordered Lobster.
2. Mom was nice about it although she and Dad were paying for this foray into gastronomical excess.
3. Mom’s cousin may be the only human capable of doing to a lobster what Maria Callas did with Medea at LaScala, what Madame Curie did with polonium and radium, what John F. Kennedy did with the Moon.
Mom’s cousin dissected her seafood with the finesse of a surgeon, the eye of a watchmaker, the innate grace of a Cary Grant and the avariciousness of a very hungry lion. So intent was her concentration on this meal, I wondered if they had food in California.
Maybe she was just afraid Dad would ask for a doggie bag.