This morning near afternoon, when Farmer H returned from his half-day of work, while he was laying on the short couch watching Man vs. Food with his eyes closed, I asked what he'd like for supper. I do that on Saturdays, because sometimes he goes to the auction, so there's a deadline of sorts in beginning meal preparation. None of the offerings from the larder seemed to temp his taste buds and gastric juices, so I moved on to items which would require a trip to town, even though The Pony and I had already made a second visit to The Devil's Playground this week only yesterday, when nobody needed anything.
I offered a hamburger, and Farmer H took the bait and ran with it like a walleye to the bottom of the lake with a fat squirmy nightcrawler. "I like a hamburger, with cheese and onions and pickles. That would be good." Good for him. And for The Pony. Not so great for me, because I am left either stacking a greasy pan on the back burner for late-night or next-morning washing, or I wash it as the hamburgers finish, and mine is ice cold before ingestion.
Off I went to Save A Lot for hamburger and more pickles. I planned on starting my culinary duties around 4:45. Hamburger-cooking is not as easy as picking up a hamburger at the drive-thru, you know. There's the patting and washing of greasy hands before anything else can be done and the tending and the avoidance of grease spatter and the wrapping of the extra hamburger meat for another day and the readying of the buns with individual cheese choices and the grinding of the salt and pepper and the slicing of the pickles and the peeling and the slicing of the onion and the soaking of leftover chicken bread from the counter with the leaked hamburger grease to make it dog bread.
Around 4:00, I heard Farmer H upstairs cranking his recliner. He does that as a signal that it is time for his supper. Oh, he will say he doesn't. But he does. It's gone on for over ten years. He's forever impatient. Tell him I'll start cooking at 4:00, and he'll start cranking at 3:00. He's like a dog laying under the grill hoping for a bit of meat to be tossed his way. Like a cat poking a sleeping food-giver to say, "It's TIME!" Farmer H slams that recliner back like he's an astronaut training in the G-force module. The La-Z-Boy interprets Farmer H's moods better than a sign-language dude interprets world leaders at a Nelson Mandela memorial.
I had even told The Pony to shout up to Farmer H when he entered the Mansion around 3:00 that I would start cooking his hamburger at 5:00. The information was acknowledged with a grunt. The cranking set my nerves on edge. It's right over my head, you know. My dark basement lair is not sound-proof. By 4:50, I gave up. I ascended the stairs and told Farmer H I was beginning his hamburger. "I was going to start at 5:00, but I heard how restless you were, so I'm here now."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"That chair. You always start yanking it around. That's how I know you're ready for me to get supper started." Let the record show that Farmer H is also like this about trips. He'll set a departure time, then get antsy 30-45 minutes before, and hound people about getting ready, and go out and sit in the car 15 minutes or more before he told us we were leaving. Also let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is quite punctual in her departure and arrival times. What she has planned is what you get. Jack Sprat and wife sometimes have to tussle, no matter how perfectly matched the opposites might seem.
"Whatever. I got up to go to the bathroom when I woke up from my nap. I got up again to get the blanket because I was cold."
"Huh. You were kind of loud about it, for one so drowsy."
"You know what? Don't do anything for me. Forget it."
"Are you sure? Because I went to the store just to get hamburger because you wanted it. And I offered a hamburger to The Pony, because that's what I was planning to make. I have to cook his anyway. I thought you said you wanted a hamburger."
"I DO want a hamburger. I like hamburgers. But if it's going to be such a big deal, FORGET IT! Don't make me anything! I'll get something at the auction."
"Okay. Last chance. I'm tired of you always mouthing like this to forget it, and I make it anyway, and you sure eat it, plus you get the chance to mouth off the whole time with no consequences."
"Forget it! Don't make anything for me!"
"All right. I won't. Maybe you'll quit having these fits where you yell at me not to make you anything. Because I'm not making you anything. Like you said."
I made a hamburger for The Pony, who thanked me as I served him, as he always thanks me, even for the simplest meal that I have heated in the one-element oven, or warmed in the microwave, or bagged lettuce I have turned into a salad. I washed a sink full of dishes. And I retired to my dark basement lair, leaving Farmer H unhamburgered.
Maybe he can score some Auction Meat, and find a vendor to cook it up for him.