I Vacuumed.

I vacuumed. I even gave each stem of yellow tulips in the living room a fresh cut AND fresh water. And I set the table with candles, made the bed, even moved the dog dish bowls from the kitchen to the laundry room. Tonight wasn’t my first dinner with Joel since our separation nearly a week ago; it was instead our fifth meal. It seems our separation, like just about everything we’ve gone through in the past 25 years, it another thing we are going to do together.

During the last several years my contribution to dinner was generally some input on the menu and showing up – taking a break from work in my home office. Unless deadlines were truly nipping at my heels, I did the dishes most of the time. In my limited experience, many male chefs A. don’t clean up as they go along B. do use every available pot, pan, utensil and plate possible.  Cleaning up was a descent contribution but I still got the better end of the deal for the past 13 years.

Joel became the family cook when long-distance interviews for a People Magazine/ Toyota advertorial assignment (that every writer in Tulsa was at one time or another part of) kept me from the kitchen in the early evening. I got the heavy hitters, the multiple franchise/ location dealers in time zones across the country who never had five minutes to spare until late at night.

Survival instincts kicked in with Joel. He’d rattle around the kitchen pantry and create something when hunger set in. He even began to enjoy it and “it” became the content of many a weekly food column I wrote for the Oklahoma Eagle.

One of my fondest memories is still very vivid. In our house on Cincinnati Ave in midtown Tulsa, I was upstairs in the spare bedroom (my office) writing when I was called to dinner. I walked into the kitchen to find Joel and our son Clay dancing around the island to Della Reese singing, “It is so nice to have a man around the house.

Somewhere along the line I stopped setting the table every night. At some point, we still sat on the floor at the coffee table but the TV had migrated to the living room and conversation was mostly during TV commercials.

Now Joel is a guest in my home and I’m doing some of the things I thought I was doing all along: making a meal shared with a friend a celebration.

As always, Trix

3 Responses to “I Vacuumed.”

  • Judy Says:

    What a sweet and wonderful experience…and perspective. Your attitude of embracing life is inspiring me.

  • Trix Says:

    Thank you for your love and support. Having warm, inspiring friends makes all the difference. T

  • Elie Says:

    Cajun Shrimp Bacchanal

    1. The Shrimp
    2 doz. large shrimp

    We’re going to mainline you,
    no salad on the side,
    no rice on the side,
    just you, crescents of pink flesh,
    plump half moons,
    just you, dressed up and ready
    to be taken to bed, to be devoured,
    to be enjoyed completely.
    Ocean ambrosia, we are impressed
    by your jumbo size and flesh.

    2. The Seasonings
    ground red pepper
    ground black pepper
    crushed red pepper

    You have that flair, that je ne sais quoi.
    How do you make it look so professional?
    A man at the stove turns me
    feminine, effusive. It occurs to me:
    Men must be made to stand at stoves!
    It’s the biological imperative!
    All this hot stuff excites me – my feet
    dance on the tiles, my arms wrap round
    your flannel waist, my fingers run
    down down down your denimed legs.

    3. The Sauce
    1 stick plus 5 TB unsalted butter
    1 1/2 tspn. minced garlic
    1 tspn. Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 cup shrimp stock
    1/4 cup beer, room temperature

    An expert male is unbelievably sexual.
    An expert female is often one who
    doesn’t look like an expert. These facts
    of life are hard to take, except
    when your man is a gourmet chef.
    All is forgiven, just give me those
    juicy, buttery, spicy shrimp.
    Drop them one by one down my throat
    between long cool sips of bottled beer.
    Ah, a chef, to have a chef, to love the chef!

    4. How to Do It
    Combine seasonings in small bowl.
    Combine 1 stick butter, garlic,
    Worcestershire, seasonings. Mix in
    large skillet over high heat. When
    butter is melted, add shrimp. Cook
    two minutes, shaking pan. Add 5
    tablespoons butter and stock.
    Cook and shake pan two minutes.
    Add beer. Cook and shake one

    This is Louisiana food, bold, adventurous.
    Makes your head sweat, your heart pound. Zydeco music – crazy accordion,
    singers raging – accompanies our feasting.
    Your jeans are so soft, I run my wet hands down them. Ah, a chef, to have a chef, to love the chef! Finishing your shrimp, you perform the benediction:
    “Cajun food is such succulent poison.”

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