My brother Jim has a germ phobia. He’s reminding me how when he was a teenager he was at his friend Roger’s house. Roger’s dad, an old cowboy, was fixing breakfast for the kids.
“He was whipping up pancake batter, ” Jim tells me, “in a great big bowl. He’d tossed in the flour and eggs and oil and I was watching him with that big blue bowl under his arm, slapping the hell out of that batter with a wooden spoon.
“Roger and I were really hungry. And, you remember Mr. Payne, he was a Real Cowboy and he was tough. He was so tough he scared me.”
Jim and I are sitting at my kitchen counter and at this point in the story he puts his head on the granite. He almost sounds like he’s going to cry.
I know the story and I know he might cry for sure.
Every once in awhile Jim trots out this tale of The Terrible Morning With Mr. Payne, The Cowboy. He has never gotten over it.
“So,” Jim continues, ” he plunks the bowl down on the table where Roger and I are sitting and says, “Looks good boys! How many do you want Jim? How ’bout I make you twelve of these here flapjacks.”
“Well, ‘great,’ I say, ‘I’m starving.’
“Then I take a look into the bowl.”
Jim’s voice rises. “I see lots of little black specks. Wow, what is that? Pepper. I lean over and look closer. Shit! (more…)