Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I dated a guy with a handlebar mustache. My friends called him Colonel Mustard to distinguish him from all other dates of mine (which at that time weren't many, since we dated for more than a year). Anyway, Colonel Mustard's mom traditionally cooked a Christmas goose. It was one of the best things I have ever eaten. She and I are both blessed with skinny-genes and healthy body images, and so we sat at the table together after everyone else had finished eating and picked at the carcass. We both liked the crispy bits of skin, which on a goose, are even more intensely fatty than turkey skin.

She also used to work on jigsaw puzzles with me in the basement. She had a triumphant way of tapping her piece whenever she got one. She liked to be acknowledged. She asked me to teach her how to do Sudoku puzzles, but I suspect she was just trying to make me feel welcome in her family. It worked. I used to be able to imagine myself as part of her family. I couldn't imagine the Colonel in my family, but I could imagine myself in the long run in that basement working on jigsaws and laughing with his mom as we picked at fatty meat together.

Jimmy recently asked me to contact her to get the goose recipe. Never mind that the entire Mustard family is off limits to me since the Colonel and I had our falling out. Jimmy wants to know how to recreate that crispy goose skin experience. Of course, it's impossible, but it made me realize that after almost three years, one of the things I miss most about Colonel Mustard is his mom, the woman who baked Christmas sugar cookies and orchestrated intense cookie-decorating contests among her children and their mates, the woman who bought me the π plate I will use today for a Thanksgiving apple pie. The woman who in addition to having all of these domestic talents also spoke with fierce intelligence about the news of the day.

I love my own mom best of all, but really there are so many good moms out there, I appreciate it when anyone I know is willing to share his with me.

No comments: